Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 21-33

First online:

Practice Guidelines in Mental Health and Addiction Services: Contributions from the American College of Mental Health Administration

  • Gail W. StuartAffiliated withCollege of Medicine, Medical University of South CarolinaCollege of Nursing, Medical University of South CarolinaAmerican College of Mental Health Administration
  • , A. John RushAffiliated withUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • , John A. MorrisAffiliated withUniversity of South Carolina School of Medicine

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Practice guidelines have proliferated in mental health and addiction services; more than 40 organizations have developed guidelines in the field. However, much confusion, controversy, and contextual issues remain, particularly regarding effective dissemination and the clinical, financial, political, and ethical issues that emerge when evidence-based behavioral health practice guidelines are implemented in systems of care. The American College of Mental Health Administration (ACMHA) focused on these problems in their 1999 and 2000 Santa Fe Summits and produced a number of specific outcomes that contribute to thinking in the field. These include the following: (a) a taxonomy of building blocks for informed decision-making in behavioral health assessment and treatment; (b) a paradigm for the development of practice guidelines; (c) characteristics of a good practice guideline; (d) strategies for disseminating and implementing practice guidelines; and (e) areas in need of future research.

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