This exploratory study examined the frequency and nature of providers' contact with families of persons with severe mental illness. Fifty-nine providers in six community mental health programs completed a self-administered survey. A subsample of 8 providers also completed two in-depth interviews. Although most providers had some family contact, the contact was restricted to a small percent of their caseloads. The nature of contact that providers have with families is generally limited by their professional role. Best practice guidelines for the treatment of mental illness and agency administrators responsible for instituting these guidelines will need to clarify the types of providers who are expected to implement various aspects of family involvement.
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