Relevance to Psychiatry
As psychiatry develops a more biomedical emphasis, it will be important to retain a comprehensive perspective in the treatment of mental disorders while concurrently researching the biological etiology of such disorders. There has been a shift away from simplistic causal theories to multidimensional causality across all types of psychiatric research. The interplay among genetic predisposition, brain processes, and psychosocial events has been represented in complex conceptions of etiology and perpetuation of various disorders.
In mental health services reform efforts for children and adolescents, the emphasis on the Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP), which, among other principles, recommends serving patients in the least restrictive environment possible, has led to reliance on community-based resources (CASSP is discussed in further detail in the next section). In the future, the practice of psychiatry will have to be more in partnership with community-based agencies. The success of mental health services provided within the community context will require professional leadership, interagency communication and cooperation, and a supportive community environment.
Most important, with the current rhetoric regarding improved outcome and cost control, all disciplines will have to demonstrate that the services provided under their leadership are cost-effective and competitive. Research data will be required to substantiate claims of effectiveness. Status, tradition, and prestige will be less significant than competency in determining who will provide what types of services.