AS EVALUATION research becomes an increasingly important aspect of mental health programing, those of us responsible for the provision of new services have to include in the organization of our programs some means of measuring our impact. We find ourselves forced to set goals and establish priorities among our objectives, and we do this in a complex field where our action is not independent of, nor irrelevant to, other agencies. The provision of humanitarian services to people in distress has to be planned so that the results can be tested. Community Mental Health, like Moral Treatment in the last century,1 may otherwise depend more on the charisma of current leadership than on evidence of any basic soundness or economy in its organization.
In California the 1967 mental hospital budget cuts could proceed in part precisely because such evidence was not available. Despite the marked reduction that has occurred in
Thomson CP, Bell NW. Evaluation of a Rural Community Mental Health Program. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(4):448-456. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740160064010