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Mental Health and the Search for New Organizational Strategies A Systems Proposal

Harold D. Holder, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(6):709-717. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740180093009.
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DECISION-MAKERS at all levels in mental health programs, including hospital administrators, clinicians, planners, coordinators, and state and local program directors, are becoming increasingly aware of the complex tasks they face. To cope effectively with such complexity new conceptual models, new styles of thought, new decision tools are required. Systems theory offers a new strategy for the behavioral sciences which is particularly relevant to mental health.1 The decision-maker is provided with new conceptual schemes for the analysis, direction, and improvement of the formal organizations which administer mental health services such as local programs, hospitals, or state or regional programs, and of the informal social structure of which mental health problems are a part.

While the concept of a "system" has long been popular in the literature of psychiatry, mental health administration, and the social and behavioral sciences, little effort had been directed toward


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