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Volume 32, Issue 4 (2003)

Commentary: Building Community Laboratories for Experimental Studies

pp. 515—519

It is a fact of life for persons living in the most impoverished urban settings that mental health services are few and far between, and when available, only weakly implemented or partially received. This is because ordinary life in these communities is challenged by comparatively higher levels of uncertainty and chaos for adults, youth, children, and families.Similarly challenged are their friends, neighbors,educators, and caregivers. High population density; low income; sizeable distances and inability to travel; fear of crime; substance abuse; changes in housing patterns, program funding, and local politics; discrimination; high rates of turnover in program staff and administrators(mental health and public school); and school closings in impoverished urban community settings are only a few of the challenges to the very notion of the provision of mental health services that are effective, accessible,and sustainable. Further, these circumstances pose significant challenges to conducting research on alternative mental health practices of sufficient quality and rigor necessary to pass standards of peer review!

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