Highlighting the Way Forward: A Review of Community Mental Health Research and Practice Published in AJCP and JCP

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American Journal of Community Psychology

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Articles published in the two most prominent journals of community psychology in North America, the American Journal of Community Psychology (AJCP) and Journal of Community Psychology (JCP), provide a clear indicator of trends in community research and practice. An examination of community psychology's history and scholarship suggests that the field has reduced its emphasis on promoting mental health, well-being, and liberation of individuals with serious mental illnesses over the past several decades. To further investigate this claim, the current review presents an analysis of articles relevant to community mental health (N = 307) published in the American Journal of Community Psychology (AJCP) and Journal of Community Psychology (JCP) from 1973 to 2015. The review focuses on article characteristics (e.g., type of article and methods employed), author characteristics, topic areas, and theoretical frameworks. Results document a downward trend in published articles from the mid-1980s to mid-2000s, with a substantial increase in published work between 2006 and 2015. A majority of articles were empirical and employed quantitative methods. The most frequent topic area was community mental health centers and services (n = 49), but the past three decades demonstrate a clear shift away from mental health service provision to address pressing social issues that impact community mental health, particularly homelessness (n = 42) and community integration of adults with serious mental illnesses (n = 40). Findings reflect both the past and present state of community psychology and suggest promising directions for re-engaging with community mental health and fostering well-being, inclusion, and liberation of adults experiencing serious mental health challenges.



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