Bridging community intervention and mental health services research

Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Jun;161(6):955-63. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.161.6.955.


Objective: This article explores the potential of community intervention perspectives for increasing the relevance, reach, and public health impact of mental health services research.

Method: The authors reviewed community intervention strategies, including public health and community development and empowerment interventions, and contrast community intervention with practice-based quality improvement and policy research.

Results: A model was proposed to integrate health services and community intervention research, building on the evidence-based strength of quality improvement and participatory methods of community intervention to produce complementary functions, such as linking community-based case finding and referral with practice-based quality improvement, enhanced by community-based social support for treatment adherence.

Conclusions: The community intervention approach is a major paradigm for affecting public health or addressing health disparities. Despite challenges in implementation and evaluation, it represents a promising approach for extending the reach of mental health services interventions into diverse communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Planning / methods
  • Community Mental Health Services / organization & administration
  • Community Mental Health Services / standards*
  • Community Participation / methods
  • Health Policy
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Program Evaluation / methods
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Public Health Practice
  • Quality of Health Care