Action for Mental Health: Final Report, 1961

By Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health | Go to book overview

V
Research Resources in Mental Health

THE ENORMOUS patient care task the mental health professions face today is matched only by the enormous research lag in the study of human behavior. As is true of deficiencies in mental patient services, the inadequacies in the support of scientific research in this field have no quick and easy remedies. This is a central thesis of Dr. William F. Soskin's study for the Joint Commission, Research Resources in Mental Health.

The present chapter draws from Dr. Soskin's work and findings and also reflects and includes suggestions made by Commission staff members and the Committee on the Studies.

The mental health sciences address themselves to the alleviation of a complex of biological, psychological, and social problems that have plagued man throughout his history; mental health scientists face this task with an incredibly small fund of knowledge about causes and cures. It is a field where much-qualified guesses abound and the few hard facts achieve prominence by their very scarcity.

What we mean by a lag in the research effort is that our total national investment in mental health research—in time, money, men, and research and training facilities—simply does not measure up to the desperate need for useful and reliable knowledge.

Many useful proposals have been put forth in recent years as solutions to one or another of the difficulties confronting the mental health research enterprise. The problem to which we address ourselves in this chapter is to frame a general strategy for intensifying the research effort in the field of mental health as a whole.

While substantive research areas will be touched upon and used

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