In his introductory article, David Rochefort has set forth his argument for the importance of mental health policy research. His article references many areas where there exist opportunities to make a substantial contribution to the developing body of knowledge in this field. A summary of some of these would include: (a) continued study of the evolution of mental health policy, (b) the impact of the "megatrend" of privatization of mental health care, and (c) the study of local experiments for client-based integration of resources.
For well over a decade, federal moneys to support mental health activities have been made available to the states through block grants. To a large extent, each state was allowed to determine how those moneys would be used. As a result, the policies that were adopted show wide. variation across the fifty states. Hudson and Cox (1991) observed that state mental health has become a rich source of policy, programmatic, and practice experimentation. What is the infrastructure in each state that helped shape policy? What forces contributed to policy development, both internal and external to state government? Who were the significant players? What was the role played by the courts, if any? Did consumers participate in the setting of goals and the development of policy?
Ideally, if the case studies followed a similar format and researched common issues, we might well gain insight as to what issues are generic and must be addressed by all states, and …