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Community psychiatry's achievements

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 September 2014

T. Burns*
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX
Address for correspondence: Professor Tom Burns, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX. (Email:


Mental health care in the second half of the 20th century in much of the developed world has been dominated by the move out from large asylums. Both in response to this move and to make it possible, a pattern of care has evolved which is most commonly referred to as ‘Community Psychiatry’. This narrative review describes this process, from local experimentation into the current era of evidence-based mental health care. It focuses on three main areas of this development: (i) the reprovision of care for those discharged during deinstitutionalisation; (ii) the evolution and evaluation of its characteristic feature the Community Mental Health Team; and (iii) the increasing sophistication of psychosocial interventions developed to support patients. It finishes with an overview of some current challenges.

Special Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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