February 22, 1971

Crisis in Child Mental Health: Challenge for the 1970's

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Ann Arbor


report of the Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children, 578 pp, $10, New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1970.

JAMA. 1971;215(8):1331-1332. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180210075039

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Crisis in Child Mental Health is a 500-page report to the Congress of the United States, representing three years of exhaustive study by the Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children. This definitive report opens with a brief, impassioned look at the tragic lack of any unified commitment to children and youth. In the next hundred pages are the many recommendations, followed by separate chapters of rich documentation. These subjects range from the impact of contemporary American society on family life and on mental health of children and youth, to poverty and mental health, the children of minority groups, and the innovative use of human resources for human services.

The sheer range and diversity of these recommendations defies summary. This richness is at once the report's greatest strength and its gravest potential weakness. With such a broad social sweep some may be tempted to dismiss it as trying to be