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Looking to the future 

Looking to the future
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date: 23 October 2019

Several fundamental tenets inform our view of community mental health care. First is an understanding of a community’s needs for mental health services. Policy makers must appreciate epidemiological needs to implement services from a public health perspective. Second, mental health care must balance several opposing forces: population needs and local resources, hospital-based and community-based services, and human rights versus public safety concerns. Third, mental health services must align with basic human rights and health care values. Fourth, effective mental health care must incorporate evidence-based approaches. Fifth, putting intended services in place with high fidelity and cultural sensitivity must involve the complicated and poorly understood science of implementation. This step includes planning, organization, financing, workforce training, and quality assurance. Sixth, community mental health must address the community as well as mental health services. Addressing public attitudes, stigma, and community resources, as well as developing a consensus for good mental health care, are all critical. Finally, these systems of care must be flexible enough to evolve as our knowledge of needs, values, evidence-based practices, and implementation science changes over time. This final chapter addresses each of these tenets.

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