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What are Best Practices?

The term "Best Practice" is used in this site in two ways. First, it is applied to those practices, services and systems that have been judged as "best practices" in behavioral health by other organizations or groups. And second, it is applied to what we feel are promising or emerging practices. MHDNA's intent is to foster a climate of innovation and change, not necessarily to specify any one distinct "best" practice. We would like to show a range of possible options, from the clinical and management guidelines formulated by well-established professional associations to exciting new treatments or programs that are promising but have yet not been fully evaluated.

Where possible, we provide a direct link to the web site page that describes the best practice. This saves the user from having to search through an entire site. We also provide links to periodicals, books, and other databases through which users can monitor best practices reviewed by other resources. As the database grows, we will add relevant information from sources other than the Internet, as well as submissions from the field.

Although our staff has reviewed all of the sites in the Best Practice Database, we count on our clinician and mental health professional users to give us feedback on the content of this database. Nothing is written in stone. If you think a particular best practice shouldn't be included, or if you wish to submit one of your own, please let us know!

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How do I Use the Best Practices Database?

The Best Practices Database is arranged under three general categories: (1) Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment, (2) Mental Health Services, and (3) System and Organizational Issues. Each of the categories is then broken down into subcategories, to make it easier to find information on a specific topic. The search may be further refined according to age, treatment type, and/or other characteristics.

When you have chosen the parameters for your search and submitted your request, you will see an annotated list of sites that MHDNA staff has classified as relevant to your interest. The brief description of the site will allow you to decide whether you want to proceed.

Tip: If there are no entries under your search parameters, then broaden your search. For example, if you are interested in adolescents, try children as well. If there are still few entries, try choosing "No Preference" in age, treatment, and/or diagnosis. "No Preference" is used when several categories may apply.

The classification of mental health disorders and the designation of specific subcategories reflect standard behavioral health classification schemes. However, not all issues are neatly defined and there is often overlap, especially on comprehensive behavioral health web sites. Because of this, some links may show up at several different places, and the classification we have selected for a specific link may not reflect where you think it ought to be. That's why building the Best Practices Database is a collaborative exercise. Let us know how we can make it better!

Finally, a key component of MHDNA's work is to recognize and promote the implementation of best practices in Arizona. In the near future, we will link our Arizona Database with the Best Practices Database, so we can show which Arizona public programs, providers and provider organizations have best practices in place.

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How do I Submit a Best Practice?

We continue to research the Web for promising and emerging practices in behavioral health, but new information is being added constantly, and it is hard to keep up. You can help us by submitting a promising or emerging practice yourself. Just click on the link below and follow the instructions. The submission can be a link to information already on the Web, or it can be a reference to a specific report, article or organizational program that is not yet online.

Submit a Best Practice

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