By Dorothy Alita Evans
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Additional resources for Mental Health Issues and the Urban Poor
In business and in industry. On the other hand, if there is no basic change in the status quo, no a m o u n t of skill training is likely to h a v e much impact, no matter h o w sophisticated our training m e t h o d s b e c o m e . Opportunities create skills; skills, in and of t h e m s e l v e s , do not seem to create opportunities. L e t me m a k e the point and the connection here even more explicit: the poor look like "remedial p e o p l e , " lacking in sense, skill, and capacity only if one a s s u m e s that society is basically open and equitable and that their failure to achieve success and their p r o n e n e s s to mental disorder is a p r o d u c t of their own inadequacies and deficits.
W e must m o v e , I suggest, b e y o n d the n a r r o w limitations of our specialties, not only in order to be more useful to the c o m m u n i t y but in order to survive as professionals. Second, we must critically reexamine our own pet theories, pet projects, and pet programs for their dysfunctions as well as their functions The Struggle for Mental Health 33 and seek to bring t h e m in line with the real needs of the people rather than keep t h e m consistent with our o w n theories and preconditions.
M a n y changes can be expected in the continuing shift in this country from capital intensive to labor intensive service business. T h e burgeoning service careers will need organizations to fight for and protect their rights while, at the same time, c o n s u m e r s will begin to take a more direct role in the determination of the type and nature of service provided. Citizen consumers will appear on b o a r d s of directors, advisory committees, and evaluation t e a m s . Radical forms of service meeting the needs of the consumer (see R a n z and D u n n , Chapter 9) will m a k e obsolete m u c h in the traditional " p r o f e s s i o n a l " service models.