Evidence-Based and Emerging Best Practices

The latest strategies designed to address the needs of adults with psychiatric disabilities are to adopt what has come to be known as evidence-based practices and the goals, values and principles of the recovery-vision.

Evidence-based practices are treatments and services with well-documented effectiveness. Much of the existing, published, research on evidence-based practices was developed and implemented without an understanding of the recovery vision. 

CASRA believes that evidence-based practices are relevant only when various levels of scientific evidence and stakeholder values come together.  This approach attempts to reconcile the potential conflicts between a scientific, objective, evidence-based approach and the importance of the subjective experience and autonomous rights of persons who are in recovery. It also acknowledges that there are other emerging practices (often referred to as “promising practices”) which have not yet been studied, or which have been examined using qualitative methodologies.

Evidence-Based Practices

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) through its Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) has introduced several Evidence-based Practice Implementation Resource Kits. Five of them are:

Illness Management and Recovery emphasizes helping people to set personal goals and to implement action strategies in their everyday lives. Information on building social support, coping with problems and symptoms, using medication effectively and gets needs met in the mental health system are addressed.

Assertive Community Treatment offers services that are customized to the individual needs of the consumer, delivered by a team of practitioners, and available 24 hours a day. Housing, finances, employment, medical care, family life and symptom management are addressed.

Family Psychoeducation involves a partnership among consumers, families and supportive practitioners. Through relationship building, education, collaboration, problem solving, and atmosphere of hope and cooperation, family psycho-education helps consumers and their supporters.

Supported Employment is a well-defined approach to helping people with mental illnesses achieve and maintain competitive employment.

Co-occurring Disorders: Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment is for people who have co-occurring disorders, mental illness and a substance abuse addiction. This treatment approach helps people recover by providing the mental health and substance abuse services at the same time and in one setting.