State Courts’ Responsibility to Convene, Collaborate and Identify Individuals Across Systems

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State Courts’ Responsibility to Convene, Collaborate and Identify Individuals Across Systems Collaborative efforts among justice, mental-health, and public-health systems are essential to respond to individuals who frequently cycle through systems. Court leaders are well positioned to convene stakeholders to implement effective responses to reduce the negative impacts on the nation’s courts. Thank you to the NCSC research team for this important 2020 TRENDS article.

SJI Request for Applications: Court Pandemic Response and Recovery SJI is seeking to fund projects that assist state courts in their response to, and recovery from, COVID-19, with a look towards the future of court operations. In addition to meeting all other application requirements, SJI will give priority consideration for funding to projects that focus on institutionalizing and/or replicating practices that were implemented during the pandemic. Applications due August 14th. Contact for assistance if you are considering a mental health related application.

Introducing the Equity and Inclusion Assessment Tool NADCP’s National Drug Court Institute (NDCI) is thrilled to announce a new, dynamic, FREE tool to help treatment courts measure program equity and inclusion and improve outcomes for participants of diverse race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, and sexual orientation. The EIAT, developed in partnership with the National Center for State Courts, is a user-friendly, Microsoft Excel-based instrument designed to measure disparities in rates of referral, admission, and program completion across demographic groups. It will also help evaluate the reasons for non-entry or non-completion for those groups. This webinar will introduce the tool and the User Guide.

Research and Resources

News You Can Use: Supporting Families During a Public Health Crisis Webinar A live discussion hosted by the National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) where panelists from the Regional Partnership Grant Program, Family Treatment Court and Quality Improvement Center Collaborative Court Teams initiatives will share their insights and lessons for serving families involved in child welfare affected by parental substance use disorders during a public health crisis.

Implementing Telehealth in Jails This BJA/COSSAP webinar covers the fundamentals of telehealth and the experience of implementing telehealth in a correctional setting to support and facilitate physical health, mental health, and substance use treatment. Implementing telehealth in jails is a crucial next step in providing treatment to individuals in the criminal justice system.

The Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative Newsletter Recent news stories, publications, and resources, including Effective Telehealth When Working with Communities of Color​, and Providing Telehealth Support to Justice-Involved People During COVID-19.

Augmenting Evidence-Based Care With a Texting Mobile Interventionist: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial A 3-month pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted to compare the mobile interventionist approach as an add-on to assertive community treatment (ACT) versus ACT alone. Augmentation of care with a texting mobile interventionist proved to be feasible, acceptable, safe, and clinically promising.

The Impact of Mental Health Resources on Police Officer Action This paper focuses on police response to mental health calls for service, with specific attention to resources available for officers. Using factorial surveys, police responses from departments across the USA were analyzed. The results suggest the availability of mental health resources are significant predictors in the actions taken by police. Implications are clear, police require more mental health-related resources available to them at the scene.

Mental Health Intervention Reduces Recidivism Rate for Psychosis Patients The researchers examined the incidence and risk factors for reoffending and time to reoffending within 2 years from the index offense. The team especially examined the link between contact with mental health serviced within 30 days of an offense and reoffending. “In this cohort, early and frequent clinical contact with mental health services after an offense in individuals with psychosis was associated with reduced risk of reoffending in this group,” the authors wrote. “More support may be needed for early treatment of those with serious mental illness who are at risk of reoffending.”

Building Healthier Communities through Pre-Arrest Diversion As the gatekeepers of the justice system, police play an important role in connecting vulnerable individuals, including those with mental health disorders and substance use disorders, to services and resources. Linkage to these services and resources can address the underlying issues that, without intervention, can lead to patterns of engagement with the justice system. This IACP factsheet outlines collaborative pre-arrest diversion1 strategies that offer connections to treatment and recovery for individuals in need, while enhancing community safety and engagement.

SJI Funding Toolkit Releases Podcast Episode 3 SJI’s Funding Toolkit for State Courts and Justice System Partners is designed to support local courts, state courts, and their justice system partners as they pursue federal and philanthropic funding opportunities. Episode 3 of the Court ¢ents podcast series features SJI grantees discussing SJI-funded projects and sharing their experiences with the SJI grant-making process.

Register now for this NCSC webinar Family Treatment Courts - What Does the Future Hold? States have applied Family Treatment Court research to provide proven practices to all families in the child welfare system affected by substance use disorders.  Presenters and panelists from Colorado will discuss strategies to elevate practice and improve outcomes for children and families.

2020 – 2021 Trauma-informed, Resilience-oriented Equity Call to Action Community of Practice The National Council for Behavioral Health is pleased to announce the 2020 – 2021 Trauma-informed, Resilience-oriented Equity Call to Action Community of Practice. This Community of Practice will provide participating organizations, systems and communities with training, technical assistance and coaching to advance trauma-informed, resilience-oriented approaches to addressing historical and ending contemporary racial inequities.

PRA July eNews This PRA newsletter includes a release of the Recommendations for Trueblood Sites, detailing a set of nine recommendations for communities interested in enhancing their competence evaluation, restoration, and jail diversion and reentry processes. This tool outlines each of the recommendations and provides suggested guidance for implementing them.

TAC Research Weekly: July Research Roundup Relevant research from July, including research about cannabis use and schizophrenia, and reducing emergency department visits for people with serious mental illness with primary care.

Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19 An updated list of COVID-19 TTA resources from SAMHSA.

July SJI Newsletter State Justice Institute grant and resource announcements, and a State of the State Courts Survey in a (Post) Pandemic World.

Understanding and Addressing Criminal Thinking Webinar This SAMHSA webinar introduces the concept of criminal thinking as a means of describing, understanding, assessing, and changing criminal behavior. Participants will be introduced to emerging cognitive-behavioral interventions for criminal thinking, including two commonly employed approaches that are designed to address criminal thinking and decrease recidivism by improving social skill development and problem-solving skills (Thinking for a Change) and increasing moral reasoning (Moral Reconation Therapy).

Upcoming SAMHSA Webinars SAMHSA's GAINS Center is covering essential topics through its upcoming national webinars and its three Virtual Learning Community webinar and discussion group series: Data and Information Sharing, Crisis Response Models, and Leveraging Teleservices in Drug Courts to Improve Treatment Access.

A Whole Person Approach to Working with Individuals who are living with Serious Mental Illness This webinar will discuss strategies for developing and implementing a whole person approach when serving individuals who are living with serious mental illness (SMI). Key considerations include access to basic needs and social determinants of health when treating and managing SMI; access to community-based supports to reduce barriers to resources; and access to peer support through Warm Lines and other crisis service systems.

SAMHSA Headlines 988 news, a new 42 CFR part 2 fact sheet, new COVID-19 funding opportunities, and more.

Complex Trauma: The Connection Between Mental Health, COVID-19 and Social Unrest In this webinar learn how to recognize moral injury, identify its signs and gain the tools to address the traumatic impact of the current environment and support healing and a resilient recovery. This workshop is offered in partnership between the Region V Public Health Training Center and the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Implementing a Peer Mentor Program: Strategies for Engaging Peer Recovery Support Specialists in Adult Treatment Courts Peer Recovery Support Specialists (PRSSs) working in treatment courts are people with lived experience of behavioral health disorders and criminal justice involvement who are key members of the clinical team serving those participating in drug court and mental health court programs. This webinar covers strategies for how to engage PRSSs in adult treatment courts to support people with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental disorders.

Police-Mental Health Collaboration This new National Conference of State Legislatures resource details both the need for alternatives to arrest and provides links several resources. “Bystanders frequently call 911 when a person near them experiences a mental health crisis, making it much more likely that a person in crisis will encounter law enforcement officers than mental health professionals. Because of this, law enforcement agencies and state lawmakers have been working to create alternative responses and improve law enforcement responses and training.”

CSG Justice Briefing New data on infections in prisons; a chance to share how you are adapting to the pandemic; and 10 sites with innovative responses to mental illness.

Reborn Not Reformed: Re-imagining Policing for the Public's Health This Advancing Racial Equity webinar will describe how racism operates in policing and the limitations of reform efforts, discuss the acute and chronic health impacts of over policing on Black and Latinx communities, explain what “Re-Imagining Policing” means for public safety, public health and society overall; and identify and address the ways in which policing occurs in public health and other sectors.

CLOUD - Curated Library about Opioid Use For Decision-Makers Welcome to CLOUD, a newly launched, searchable library of curated, evidence-based resources on opioids and the opioid crisis. Our goal is to provide everyone working on this important issue with a centralized source to find actionable, evidence-based resources. CLOUD engages in a thorough inclusion review process to ensure the highest quality of materials are selected for the site. The library is a dynamic project, regularly adding resources to ensure users have the latest information available.

BHIVE National Council for Behavioral Health Newsletter Includes highlights of the recent virtual NCBH National Conference, COVID-19 behavioral health resources, and more.

Mental Health and the Character and Fitness Examination: The Tide is Shifting Bar associations throughout the United States have an obligation to admit only those candidates who are fit to practice law. One aspect of the inquiry that has come under scrutiny in recent years is the requirement to disclose mental health issues. The legal profession is in the midst of a mental health crisis, with rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide among lawyers far outpacing those of the general public. In an effort to address this crisis, some jurisdictions have eliminated the mental health questions from the character and fitness exam, while others have shifted the focus from requiring disclosure of specific diagnoses to a more behavior-based inquiry.

In the News

Early Impact of CMS Expansion of Medicare Telehealth During COVID-19 An area where telehealth has been used frequently has been mental health services with a psychiatrist or psychologist: approximately 460,000 beneficiaries (or 60 percent) are receiving this care through telehealth. Telehealth for mental health care is showing great promise for our Medicare beneficiary population, who may otherwise have felt stigmatized seeking out care in-person.

Lawmakers Push to Make Telehealth Options Permanent Early data shows patients quickly embraced telemedicine options agencies expanded during the coronavirus pandemic. The data from CMS shows a dramatic increase in the use of telemedicine services. Before the pandemic, according to the report, around 13,000 Medicare beneficiaries received telemedicine in a week. During the last week in April, that number was closer to 1.7 million.

FCC Designates 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.  The rules require all phone service providers to direct all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022.

Iowa Governor to Use $50M in Federal Money for Mental Health $30 million of the CARES Act funding will be used for mental health services administered regionally across the state to help cover increased need resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. The remaining $20 million will go to mental health and substance abuse providers to cover increased costs.

Congress Approves Bill Giving Federal Support to Veterans Treatment Courts A bill that would help give a second chance to veterans who have committed nonviolent crimes has moved to the president’s office to be signed into law. The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act of 2019 (H.R. 886) directs the Department of Justice to create a program that would provide funding and technical assistance to state, local, and tribal governments with veterans treatment courts or the intent to begin one.

COVID-19, Police Reform, and Fixing a Broken Mental Health System A video conversation with political scientist and mental health advocate Norm Ornstein.

“Go on Medi-Cal to get That”: Why Californians with Mental Illness are Dropping Private Insurance to get Taxpayer-funded Treatment In dozens of interviews, families, attorneys, judges, therapists and public officials agree: People with serious mental illnesses often do better dropping private insurance and qualifying for taxpayer-funded treatment.

Dangerous Mix: Law Enforcement and Mentally Ill Suspects Police response to mental-health calls often ends – again and again – in chaotic, noisy hospital emergency rooms, where staff is stretched thin, and a heart attack is likely to take precedence over someone in the throes of a mental-health crisis. Even with additional training, police officers and 911 dispatchers must make difficult decisions in determining whether a mental-health call requires an armed police response or an unarmed social worker skilled in deescalating confrontational behavior. Often, it requires both.

The Essential Role of Mental Health For A Diverse, Inclusive Workplace In response to global protests for racial justice, employers around the world are emphasizing their commitment to inclusion and social equity. To deliver on this commitment, organizations must ensure employees from diverse backgrounds can access effective mental health support – a challenge that has been overlooked for too long.

ADA Anniversary Sparks Need for Renewed Focus on Mental Health Equity According to the ADA National Network, about 18% of workers in the U.S. report having a mental health condition in any given month. This means that psychiatric disability is one of the most common types of disability covered under the ADA.

The Latest from The Kennedy Forum Now, more than ever, mental health advocacy is critical to building the integrated system we need. The Kennedy Forum continues to engage virtually with policymakers, partner organizations, government agencies, and business leaders to spark lasting change.

PTACC Ticker Wednesday, July 22nd Links to An Open Letter in Response to the President’s Executive Order on Safe Policing, submitted by 17 behavioral health and diversion organizations.

PTACC Ticker Wednesday, July 29th Includes “Tele-Whatever”...Tele-health & tele-deflection, as well as a link to IACP’s Options for Community Engagement and Dialogue resource and fact sheet.

News and Commentary from the Treatment Advocacy Center The July summary of recent developments and compelling news stories from across the country highlighting America's broken mental health treatment system and how to fix it.

This Week in Criminal Justice Battle over in-person court proceedings in New York, puzzling pandemic crime rate date, and a Gallup poll about policing reforms.

Oregon’s Behavioral Health System Faces Critical Juncture In the policy discussions focused on rethinking both law enforcement intervention strategies and the development of a “new normal” for our health care system, behavioral health is often touted as a critical part of the solution. Yet we will have our hands tied, unable to contribute to addressing these challenges, without the resources necessary to deliver quality care to every Oregonian who needs it.

Health Care for all is Cheaper than Arresting the Ill Years ago I cared for a patient on a mental health ward who threw a rock through a fire department window intentionally hoping that he would be noticed and arrested. Why? He had a history of schizophrenia but couldn’t get the care he needed as an outpatient. He could feel himself falling into an acute psychotic state, but did not have needed mental health services, because of underfunding. But he knew that the police had the funding to respond to a broken window and arrest him, which would bring him into jail, out of the cold and, eventually to the attention of psychiatric inpatient services at the expense of the criminal justice system.

This City Stopped Sending Police to Every 911 Call Over a year ago, Olympia started taking a different approach to nonviolent incidents caused by someone experiencing mental illness, addiction, or homelessness. Instead of sending armed officers to respond, the city dispatches “crisis responders” to diffuse the situation and connect the individual with services—a model now being considered by a growing number of cities across the U.S.

St. Cloud Police, Mental Health Expert Pair up to Provide Collaborative Care After years of working to create a new way to respond to mental health calls, a team of police and community partners is showing results just a few months after its inception. The St. Cloud-area co-responder team, which began working at the end of March, pairs a mental health professional and a St. Cloud police officer to help with mental health calls.

‘Decades Overdue’: Baltimore City Council Re-Examines Police Response To Mental Health, Behavioral CallsWe seek to decriminalize mental health challenges. Too often, we have asked police officers to solve issues that they are ill equipped to handle. Police are not clinicians. Mental health issues like schizophrenia and addiction require a mental health response led by mental health professionals.

S.D. Law Officers and Courts Try a New Approach for People with Mental-Health Challenges People from South Dakota courts, law enforcement, mental health care and a well-known charity gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday to announce a $1 million pilot for 23 counties to use technology to reach outside behavioral counselors for help in difficult situations. The conversation that led to what is being called virtual crisis care took place two years ago between Walter Panzirer and state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson during the last pheasant hunt that Dennis Daugaard hosted as governor.

“No One Should be a Police Officer who Lacks Empathy or Good Communication Skills,” Expert Says While increased mental health funding is necessary to address the over-representation of people with mental illness in the justice system, it alone is not sufficient.  We also must address larger societal problems like poverty, homelessness, and systemic racism. There cannot be a zero-sum game of funding for the police and human services.

Police Grapple with Community Mental Health Issues The shuttering of mental health facilities operated by the state has hampered law enforcement. In the past, those with mental issues or threatening suicide were taken to such facilities for treatment. Those facilities’ numbers have dwindled, and patients needing to be seen as soon as possible are on a waiting list.

Discrimination and Racism in the History of Mental Health Care People with mental illness have always been discriminated against. They have been denied full participation in society and labeled as dangerous and criminal. Many have been locked in institutions that acted more like prisons designed to punish than hospitals designed to treat. In the 1960s, a series of federal legislation and court cases tried to end this discrimination. In the process, these cases revealed how deep the inequalities ran. And as bad as they were for anyone with mental illness, they were even worse for the most marginalized people in the system, African American men, women, and children.

‘Opioid Overdoses are Skyrocketing’: as Covid-19 Sweeps across US an Old Epidemic Returns Public health officials from Kentucky to Florida, Texas and Colorado have recorded surges in opioid deaths as the economic and social anxieties created by the Covid-19 pandemic prove fertile ground for addiction. In addition, significant numbers of people have fallen out of treatment programs as support networks have been yanked away by social distancing orders.

Legislators Call for More Police Mental Health Training Lafazan and Macari both said the destigmatization of mental illness in society is an important issue which must be taken into account. Lafazan said governments across the country need to work to ensure they treat people with mental health issues and disabilities humanely. Macari said the removal of a societal stigma on mental health could enable more mentally ill people to seek treatment. This, she said, could lower the chances of people with mental illness from engaging in criminal or threatening activities.

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