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Community mental health centers: returning to basics
Am J Psychiatry 1979;136:1077-1079.
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Community mental health centers (CMHCs) have made a significant contribution to making mental health services available to many Americans; in 1977 they served almost two million people. External fiscal constraints and internal service and accountability requirements now test the viability of CMHCs, but the most recent extension of the law allows increased flexibility on implementation, and the President's Commission on Mental Health has reinforced the original purpose of CMHCs by calling for an initiative to give special attention to the needs of children and youth, the elderly, minorities, the chronically mentally ill, and other underserved populations and areas.

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