Among its principal goals, the community mental health model aims at reducing disability due to mental illness through early crisis intervention. A large midwest regional center has been conducting a series of outcome evaluation studies to test the effectiveness and productivity of the community-oriented approach.
The present investigation reports on a four-year comparative study of all seriously disturbed persons from a ten-county area who were hospitalized for the first time. The center group had fewer days hospitalized, less disability, less total cost per patient and per capita, as well as, a lower cost-benefit ratio than traditional state hospitals. Neither system of care, however, was successful with a small hardcore group of long-term patients.
The study findings were used as feedback by the center's administration to modify the overall program and allocation of available resources.
Smith WG, Kaplan J, Siker D. Community Mental Health and the Seriously Disturbed PatientFirst Admission Outcomes. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;30(5):693-696. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760110103013