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Freudenberger, H.J. (1974). The Community Mental Health Center. Allen Beigel and Alan I. Levenson (Eds.). New York: Basic Books, 1972. 430 pp.. Psychoanal. Rev., 61(2):311-313.

(1974). Psychoanalytic Review, 61(2):311-313

The Community Mental Health Center. Allen Beigel and Alan I. Levenson (Eds.). New York: Basic Books, 1972. 430 pp.

Review by:
Herbert J. Freudenberger

With the passage of the Community Mental Health Centers Act in 1963, and with money provided for the construction and staffing of such centers, the mental health care providers have been given an opportunity to deliver comprehensive services to the public for the first time. These services include evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation for the mentally ill. By September 1972 over 450 community mental health centers had received funds and more than 220 were in operation.

What are the implications of these centers for the mental health professionals, and what is it that these community mental health centers provide? They provide impetus to inner-city residents to seek solutions to problems some of which the residents know exist and some of which they do not know exist. The services may range from helping people contact the Department of Traffic to install a red light on a school street to concern for a neurologically impaired child and caring for mentally disturbed families. The editors point out that for many of the residents living in Black, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Indian low-income areas, terms such as psychiatry, psychology, and psychoanalysis are meaningless. The community either does not know the differences between these terms or views going to one of them as meaning “You are crazy.”

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