The meaning of community in community mental health

Albert Hunter*, Stephanie Riger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This article critically reviews the development of community mental health in both theory and practice and explores new directions and dilemmas for future policy and programs. First, we trace the dialectical development of the ideology of community mental health and the rediscovery of community. Second, we outline the two key transitions: (a) from professionals to natural helpers and (b) from catchment areas to natural networks. Third, we offer alternative conceptions of community from the sociological literature and suggest ways that these can benefit new program planning. We conclude with a series of policy questions that legitimate the expansion of community mental health beyond the parochial confines of the local community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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