Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences


Fifty years of progress in community mental health in US: the growth of evidence-based practices

L. B. Dixona1 c1 and E. C. Schwarza1

a1 New York State Psychiatric Institute, Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, USA


Fifty years have elapsed since the passage of the Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) Act in 1963 that reflected the legislative peak of the community mental healthcare movement in the US Progress of the last 10 years is represented both by expansions of evidence-based practices (EBPs) and the development of emerging practices and fundamental shifts in the orientation of the system stimulated by the consumer-driven recovery movement. Established EBPs have accumulated expanded evidence, new EBPs have been developed and emerging EBPs are gaining increased acceptance. While the lack of widespread implementation of EBPs as well as the limitations of these technologies produces unnecessary suffering and disability, we believe that the growth of evidence for treatments and services justifies optimism for the future.

(Online publication November 12 2013)

Key words

  • Evidence-based practices;
  • mental health;
  • recovery;
  • schizophrenia


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr L. Dixon, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Room 2702, Box 100, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10032, USA. (Email: DixonLi@nyspi.columbia.edu)