National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness Established

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National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness Established A new task force has been established by the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators to assist state courts in their efforts to more effectively respond to the needs of court-involved individuals with serious mental illness.

Transition Report on Mental Illness ReleasedThe National Judicial Task Force to Examine the State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness will build upon the previous work of the National Advisory Committee supported by funding from the State Justice Institute.

Coordinated Court and Community Responses has been revised and updated. This NCSC website brings together the best resources from dozens of sources into one site, organized around the SIM intercepts and the Leading Change framework. New resources and topics have been added, including a section on resources for rural courts, one on the emerging uses of technology across the intercepts, and more.

Research and Resources

SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19 SAMHSA is committed to providing regular training and technical assistance (TTA) on matters related to the mental and substance use disorder field as they deal with COVID-19. View the updated comprehensive available TTA resources to assist with the current situation.

Coordinated Court and Community Responses has been revised and updated. This NCSC website brings together the best resources from dozens of sources into one site, organized around the SIM intercepts. New resources and topics have been added, including a section on resources for rural courts, one on the emerging uses of technology across the intercepts, and more.

Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative Newsletter Courts start planning for reopening; states balance hospital vs. jail needs; JPLI co-chairs in the news; and more.

Resources from the MHTTC Network School Tele-Mental Health Webinar Series The SAMHSA funded Mental Health Technology Transfer Center focuses on telehealth and other technology-related behavioral health resources.

JCOIN Rapid Innovation Grant (J-RIG) The JCOIN Rapid Innovation Grant (J-RIG) program is a rapid funding mechanism to support small research grants to study newly emerging policies, practices or interventions that address prevention and treatment of addiction in justice settings.

June MHTTC Pathways Newsletter This newsletter includes pieces about mental health disparities, school mental health news, and a spotlight on the Great Lakes and Southwest MHTTCs.

SAMHSA Headlines—Your one-stop source for the latest from SAMHSA SAMHSA’s newsletter with headlines, funding opportunities, and TA resource listings.

Upcoming SAMHSA Webinars Data and Information Sharing Virtual Learning Community Webinar Series and Gains Center National Webinars.

Recovery Live! Supporting the Resilience of Black Men: Culturally Affirming and Responsive Approaches to Engagement, Treatment, and Recovery The experiences of Black men with mental illness, substance use disorder, and recovery are unique in ways that have crucial implications for service delivery. SAMHSA invites you to join national experts in a conversation about the experiences of Black men with mental illness, substance use disorder (SUD), or both. Presenters will highlight current research and describe best practices and promising strategies for supporting the recovery of Black men.

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Weekly Update June 5 edition of this resource rich newsletter.

Black Lives Matter and Black Mental Health MattersThe Mental Health Coalition curated this list of mental health resources specific to the Black community.

Policy Research Associates: Black Lives MatterTo encourage broader education about systems transformation to support the well-being and recovery of Black and Brown people, we have assembled the following resources from Policy Research and its projects.

Webinar: Utilizing Peer Support to Improve Health and Wellness of People with Mental Illness Join the National Council for Behavioral Health on Wednesday, June 17, 2-3 p.m. ET with their partners from the International Association of Peer Supporters, for an upcoming webinar to learn more about the findings from recent research supported through a grant award by Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).

Virtual Symposium on Improving Access to Effective Care for People Experiencing Homelessness, Serious Mental Illness, and Substance Use Disorders Join SAMHSA’s Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN) for a day of learning from nearly two dozen national experts, policy makers, and providers in large plenaries and smaller concurrent sessions.

State Mental Health Reforms that would Cut the Offloading of Mentally Ill to Criminal Justice Recommendations from Mental Illness, including reforming civil commitment laws, increasing use of AOT, and expanding hospital capacity.

TAC Research Weekly: Role of Law Enforcement in Mental Illness Crisis Response Approximately one in four fatal police encounters involve an individual with severe mental illness. This means that people with mental illness are 16 times more likely to be shot and killed by police, compared to people without mental illness. Includes an international best practice guideline for law enforcement response to people with mental illness in the community.

SAMHSA SOAR June eNews News and resources for SOAR programs. Includes information about an upcoming webinar introducing an updated SOAR Appeals Toolkit designed to assist SOAR providers with appealing SSI/SSDI denials.

The Kennedy Forum Learn how racism undermines mental well-being and contributes to mental health disorders, including those caused by trauma. Become educated about how we can help those affected to heal.

New Webinar: Law Enforcement Responses to People with Opioid Use Disorders Law enforcement officers often experience firsthand how the mental health and substance use crises affect their communities. With the number of law enforcement interactions involving opioids on the rise, there is now a greater push to train about opioid use disorders and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

In the News

‘I can’t imagine going back’: Medicare leader calls for expanded telehealth access after Covid-19 During the past three months, virtual visits have increased more than 40-fold in some parts of the country. Now CMS is considering ways to permanently broaden the types of services that can be provided via telemedicine, such as emergency care, physical therapy, and mental health consultations.

What can we learn about criminal justice reform from the coronavirus pandemic? Although the jail saw a significant decrease in its population, the percentage of people with mental illness or substance abuse still being held jumped from 40% to 80%.

Mental illness is a health issue, not a police issueAmericans with mental illnesses make up nearly a quarter of those killed by police officers, according to The Post’s Fatal Force database. Meanwhile, a cumulative list shows 115 police officers have been killed since the 1970s by individuals with untreated serious mental illnesses. It doesn’t have to be this way. The movement underway to “defund the police,” is a long-needed moment to shift responsibility for the seriously mentally ill away from police and put it back to where it belongs: on social service agencies and the medical community.

Is moving money from police into mental health the answer? We've heard police chiefs say for years that mental health calls are some of their most challenging and that they need more help with them. But where they disagree with critics is the solution. And some advocates who focus on mental health aren't so sure that moving money around is the solution to ending police violence or systemic racism.

What does ‘defund the police’ really mean? Care First, Jails Last is one option This report lays out five strategies:

Strategy 1 – Expand and scale community-based, holistic care and services through sustainable and equitable community capacity building and service coordination.

Strategy 2 – Utilize behavioral health responses for individuals experiencing mental health and/or substance use disorders, homelessness, and other situations caused by unmet needs; avoid and minimize law enforcement responses.

Strategy 3 – Support and deliver meaningful pre-trial release and diversion services.

Strategy 4 – Provide effective treatment services in alternative placements, instead of jail time.

Strategy 5 - Effectively coordinate the implementation of ATI recommendations, ensuring that strategies work to eliminate racial disparities and to authentically engage and compensate system-impacted individuals.

Afrocentric transitional housing for womenResidents of the Diane Wade House have a real need for mental health and substance use treatment, and it can be difficult to find such programs that are offered in a culturally responsive manner. The facility offers low-barrier transitional housing and gender-responsive, trauma-informed services for up to 38 women.

Why is APD responding to Mental Health Crises like violent crimes? Of the top 15 most populous U.S. cities, Austin has the highest per capita rate of fatal mental health-related police shootings: According to a 2018 city audit, a third of the 24 people killed in police shootings from 2010 through 2016 had confirmed mental health conditions, compared to a national average of 22 percent.

Disability rights groups should accept schizophrenia Though many people with disabilities have benefited from these organizations, people with severe mental illnesses have been negatively impacted. This is because the voices of these people have been seized by the psychiatric survivor/alternative movement; these are people who believe they have been harmed by interactions with psychiatrists and medications that they didn’t need. They support a non-medical approach to all ‘mental distress’ and often deny that illnesses like schizophrenia are recognized as medical conditions or that they even exist. They support the idea that mental health services are best supplied by peers who are told they are experts because of their lived experiences.

TAC Research Weekly: NIMH largely ignores public comments to 2020-2025 Strategic Plan Despite receiving more than 6,000 responses over the winter holidays, NIMH made no substantive changes to the research goals or objectives in the final version released to the public last month. In fact, NIMH incorporated only 0.6% (39 of 6,233) of the public comments into the final version, according to NIMH Director Dr. Joshua Gordon.

SAMHSA AOT grant awards This list of 17 new grants awards and the accompanying abstracts paints an interesting picture of the future of Assisted Outpatient Treatment initiatives.

Amid COVID, people involuntarily confined in Psych hospitals must be released As we call for the releases of people from jails and prisons, we must call for the release of involuntarily confined people at psychiatric hospitals. We must call for resources for those who are released, including emergency housing and community support dollars. It’s clear that holding people in congregate environments dramatically increases risk of coronavirus-related illness up to and including death.

Stronger ‘Laura’s law’ wins California Assembly approval Legislation to strengthen California’s 2002 “Laura’s Law,” which gives family members a legal tool to get treatment for their severely mentally ill relatives, has been approved 77-0 by the state Assembly, despite opposition from some California counties, behavioral health directors and a labor union representing employees in local mental-health programs.

COVID-19 lessons for the treatment of serious mental illness Those who wish to build fairer societies and health systems after the pandemic ends must learn about and prioritize the needs of people living with severe mental illness as a matter of urgency. One way to accomplish that is to revise the very controversial involuntary treatment guidelines.

Mental Health Task Force to review prison laws, policies The Judiciary of Jamaica says the Chief Justice has established a Mental Health Task Force that is to look at the present law, practice, policies, and procedures relating to inmates with mental illness.

Capitol Connector: HHS launches portal for Medicaid providers to access COVID-19 relief funds and more policy news This National Council for Behavioral Health newsletter provides advocacy related links and information.

Minneapolis City Council members announce intent to disband the police department, invest in proven community-led public safetyAmong other recommended changes, public health experts have long advocated for dispatching medical professionals and/or social workers, not armed police, to respond to calls related to substance use and mental health. Polling from Data for Progress indicates that more than two-thirds of voters—68 percent—support the creation of such programs, versions of which are already in place in other cities such as, Eugene, Oregon; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colorado.

Quad-Cities mental health services have ramped up Recent advances include a telephone hotline that is answered 24/7, mobile crisis teams of two that can go out to where a person is in crisis and talk to that person or get that person to a hospital, and tele-health options in the seven area hospitals.

UW Medicine temporarily closing psychiatric unit amid recent furloughs The unit houses 10 patients at a time and admissions are voluntary, meaning patients can sign themselves in and leave as long as they are not at risk of hurting themselves or others. It’s usually staffed with psychiatric attendings, psychologists, nurses, and social workers who develop comprehensive treatment plans for the patients.

How virtual therapy apps are trying to disrupt the mental health industry Lockdown and social-distancing measures have made accessing traditional care difficult or even impossible, as has the increased demand for help. Fortunately, virtual therapy apps offer a simple alternative, empowering the general public to access mental-health support without leaving their home.

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