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Overholser, W. (1956). Evaluation in Mental Health: Report of a Subcommittee on Evaluation of Mental Health Activities. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, 1955. 292 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 25:108.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:108

Evaluation in Mental Health: Report of a Subcommittee on Evaluation of Mental Health Activities. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, 1955. 292 pp.

Review by:
Winfred Overholser

The primary purpose of the Committee that, under the chairmanship of Dr. Maurice H. Greenhill, compiled this valuable report is to make clear the problems and methods of evaluative studies; they do not undertake themselves to evaluate activities concerned with mental health. The very concept of 'mental health' is elusive and lacks an accepted definition. The field is complex, involving such disciplines as psychiatry, psychology, social work and sociology, education, and organized religion. The evaluation of multiple factors is far from easy; indeed there is need for more workers trained in evaluation and we must acquire new methods for appraising the means of promoting mental health. The need of effective evaluation becomes more pressing as more and more public and private funds become available for expenditure on mental health.

Certainly we should not wait for the development of perfected methods. The major part of the volume shows how diligently evaluation has already been attempted. Pages 62 to 281 list nine hundred eighty-four annotated references in such categories as methodological considerations, community organization, administration, professional personnel, education and information, preventive effects of programs, factors influencing mental health, and diagnostic and treatment procedures. An index of authors completes the book.

The volume is a significant addition to the literature of mental health activities. It summarizes a vast amount of work already done, and points up the need for further evaluative studies.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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