The author delineates some of the critical issues that face community
mental health, with the opportunity for either growth and further
development or regression into a decentralized type of custodial care.
These issues include clarifying boundaries and priorities, caring for
chronically ill deinstitutionalized patients, providing differentiated
care, collaborating with the community, relating to the rest of psychiatry
and medicine, defining the community psychiatrist's role, maintaining
psychiatric manpower, undertaking evaluation research, and achieving stable
funding. Psychiatry's response to these issues will help determine the
resolution of this crisis and the future viability and direction of
community mental health.