Coalition Describes Evidence-Based Practice Decision Making in Mental Health Care

Posted January 8, 2019
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog consensusstatementshowsimportance 2019

The Coali­tion for the Advance­ment and Appli­ca­tion of Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence (CAAPS) has released a con­sen­sus state­ment on the role of evi­dence-based prac­tice in the men­tal and behav­ioral health field.

The terms evi­dence and evi­dence-based can be dif­fi­cult to define, and peo­ple use them in so many dif­fer­ent ways,” says Suzanne Barnard, direc­tor of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Evi­dence-Based Prac­tice Group.

At the CAAPS 2018 Sum­mit on Men­tal Health­care, which the Casey Foun­da­tion co-spon­sored, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from more than two dozen orga­ni­za­tions worked togeth­er to describe what an evi­dence-based prac­tice approach looks like in the con­text of men­tal and behav­ioral health care.

The result­ing con­sen­sus state­ment, draft­ed at the sum­mit, makes three main points.

These are:

  1. Evi­dence-based prac­tice begins with con­sid­er­ing the best avail­able evi­dence as well as the lim­i­ta­tions of avail­able evidence.
  2. Evi­dence-based prac­tice requires that the impact of ser­vices is con­tin­u­al­ly mea­sured and eval­u­at­ed and that the ser­vices them­selves are adjust­ed if necessary.
  3. Providers con­sid­er infor­ma­tion from var­i­ous sources and serve as a guide for the col­lab­o­ra­tive deci­sion-mak­ing process.

We applaud the coalition’s attempt to devel­op a con­sen­sus on what these terms mean in the men­tal health field, which can only sup­port our efforts to encour­age the use of pro­grams and inter­ven­tions that are proven to work for kids and fam­i­lies,” says Barnard.

Pro­fes­sion­al orga­ni­za­tions have also sup­port­ed the move, with the Amer­i­can Coun­sel­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, the Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion and the Asso­ci­a­tion for Behav­ioral and Cog­ni­tive Therapies—among others—endorsing the con­sen­sus statement.

Learn how orga­ni­za­tions can build evi­dence in five steps

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