ABSTRACT

The most visible and acute part of the mental health problem resides in those patients with major psychiatric disorders who require hospitalization. These are the patients who must have the intensive and coordinated services of the most highly trained members of the mental health team—especially of the psychiatrist. The principles and practice of group psychotherapy have been in existence for some time. This approach to psychological treatment of emotional illness has been continually assigned a secondary role. The problem of critical shortage of expert mental health personnel must be attacked simultaneously on two fronts: there must be enhanced effort to recruit and train for the mental health professions, and there must be careful efforts to reduce the demand for their services. In 1955, the United States Congress passed the Mental Health Study Act which provided for the establishment of a Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health.