This paper is an overview of the 6 years of existence of the Psychiatric Home Treatment Service and of the 4 clinical programs it pursued. The goal of the service was to define a new community approach to the care of those suffering from serious mental illness. An attempt was made to use home treatment as an alternative to hospitalization wherever appropriate with these patients.Of the patients referred to us, 30% did not appear to be hospital-bound. Of the remaining 70%, more than one-half could be managed outside the hospital using home treatment and/or other alternatives to hospitalization. It would seem from our experiences that a home treatment service can be a valuable facility attached to a state hospital, but perhaps could be even more valuable as an integral part of every community mental health center.