The manuscript reviews the social, legal, and political background of the deinstitutionalization movement, reviews successful programs for deinstitutionalized chronic mental patients in the major problem areas of socialization skills training, supportive living, interventions with families, vocational rehabilitation, and medication monitoring. Problems which prevent the successful replication of these programs in rural areas, such as differing characteristics of rural and urban clients, distance and travel, and staff attitudes are discussed. Implications for social work training and practice in rural areas include the increased need for paraprofessional staff development and supervision skills, ability to utilize and mobilize existing community helping networks, and training in behavior modification techniques.

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