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Mental Health and Social Policy: Beyond Managed Care, 6th edition

David Mechanic, Donna D. McAlpine, David A. Rochefort

February 2013
Rooted in research findings that support an evidence-based orientation to treatment and recovery, the sixth edition of Mental Health and Social Policy takes a multidisciplinary approach to mental health and social policy. It examines the nature, origins, distribution, and consequences of disorders, while detailing information on the services, programs, and social policies that have been developed to assist people with mental health problems.

The tragic school shooting in Newtown Connecticut, has once again riveted the nation’s attention on gaps in the mental health system. The part that mental health policy should play in responding to violent events like this, as opposed to other measures such as tougher gun control, remains to be settled politically, yet there is no question that mental health care is a perennially controversial topic in our society, fraught with issues of labeling, resource allocation, professional competition, sound management, public regulation, and unmet need. The new sixth edition offers an up-to-date and comprehensive guide informed by the latest empirical research, and careful attention to the history of mental health policy development in our society.

The publication of this new edition marks the latest evolution of a work that has long been viewed as a classic in educating students within medical sociology, social work, public health, health administration, and related fields. The book’s first edition was published by David Mechanic in 1969, an era when the turbulence of state hospital deinstitutionalization was matched by social unrest surrounding the Vietnam War, racial conflict, and the War on Poverty. Nearly forty-five years later, this latest edition remains concerned with the aftermath of deinstitutionalization, but it brings to bear compelling new data on what works and what doesn’t in the fashioning of community mental health systems as well as the relationship of this challenge to broader questions of health care finance and the organization of treatment. In this new volume, Mechanic is joined by two new coauthors, Donna D. McAlpine, a medical sociologist working in public health at the University of Minnesota, and David A. Rochefort, a political scientist at Northeastern University, who enrich the work based on their own extensive research on mental health services and policy. One of the book’s main assets is its examination of the implications of national health reform for mental health care from multiple vantage points. The book’s new closing chapter presents five different approaches for conducting mental health policy analysis, explaining the types of data and design strengths and weaknesses of each method.

David Mechanic, Donna D. McAlpine, and David A. Rochefort. Mental Health and Social Policy: Beyond Managed Care, Pearson Education, 2014 (published February 2013).