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The Evolution of Mental Health Care Policy and the Implications for Social Work
Social Work in Mental Health (2008)
  • Cassandra L. Bransford, Binghamton University--SUNY
The focus of this article is on the evolution of mental health care policy in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present. To the extent that social work practice enacts policy, this article focuses particularly on the ways 20th century social workers have reflected, interpreted, and forged mental health care initiatives and reforms. The article includes a discussion of how the cycles of mental health reform (moral treatment, mental hygiene, and community mental health) have influenced not only the roles but also the actual practices of social workers. The article concludes with a consideration of the impact of managed care on mental health policy and the implications for social work.
  • Health care policy,
  • moral treatment,
  • mental hygiene,
  • community mental health,
  • welfare reform,
  • universal health care,
  • privatization,
  • managed care
Publication Date
October 20, 2008
Publisher Statement
This is the metadata for an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social Work in Mental Health Journal on October 20, 2008, available online:
Citation Information
Bransford, C.L., & Bakken, T. (2002). The evolution of mental health care policy and the implications for social work. Social Work in Mental Health, 1(1), 3-26.