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October 20, 1962

Community Mental Health Centers Can Replace Large Institutions

JAMA. 1962;182(3):34. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050420106042

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A new approach to mental health— in which care and treatment are centered in the community—can radically reduce the population of large centralized public mental institutions, delegates to the Congress on Mental Health were told.

Dr. Robert H. Felix, director of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md. said that such a reduction can come about, even in the face of rising institution population, through community cooperation.

At the focus of community responsibility, he placed the comprehensive community mental health center—a "facility designed to provide preventive services, early diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness, both on an inpatient and outpatient basis, and to serve as a base for aftercare of discharged hospital patients." It also would provide for research and training.

Felix, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, stressed the importance of the community in this new concept.

"All of us who have had experience with programs

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