August 1971

Appalachia's Children: The Challenge of Mental Health.

Author Affiliations



By David H Looff, MD. Price, $7.50. Pp 186. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky, 1971.

Am J Dis Child. 1971;122(2):185. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1971.02110020119030

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This excellent book is highly recommended to anyone interested in community mental health. Although it portrays a vivid picture of the children of eastern Kentucky only, its importance goes beyond the problems and issues of that region. In short, this book provides a paradigm for those health (and particularly mental health) workers endeavoring to reach people from a different subculture. The subject matter concerns rural life; nevertheless there are many parallels to be drawn for urban living. The techniques outlined for effecting meaningful interventions with the rural poor are, for example, equally relevant for the urban poor. Thus, Looff stresses the importance of not jumping into an area populated by people already wary and suspicious of "outsiders." The approach is really very similar to that of the cultural anthropologist. First, it is important to listen, to get acquainted not just with people but with the values and customs these people

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