Chief Justice Reiber Discusses the Task Force’s Work and Goals

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Task Force and Task Force Member Activities

Chief Justice Reiber Discusses the Task Force’s Work and Goals In the first of eight interviews of the National Judicial Task Force Executive Committee members, Vermont Chief Justice Paul Reiber, a task force co-chair, discusses why the task force is needed, why he thinks its work will lead to positive changes, and what challenges his state is facing.

Task Force Website and Resource Hub Revised and Updated The NCSC behavioral health website has a new look and feel, and a new address: The old address will forward to the new, but the change in url also represents an enhanced effort to establish a one-stop site for all the best resources related to courts and behavioral health. One part of the site, the Behavioral Health Resource Hub is just that, a comprehensive hub for accreting the best resources for courts, judges, and our behavioral health partners. New links are regularly added, and over 30 new resources were included in this latest revision. Those newest resources are noted with an asterisk. Check it out!

Chief Justice Brutinel Welcomes Attendees to April 14th Webinar As Co-chair of the Civil, Probate and Family Work Group of the National Judicial Task Force, Chief Justice Brutinel welcomed attendees at a recent webinar to announce a new national consortium to promote the Blueprint to Strengthen Children and Families: Child Welfare Prevention and Intervention Mapping. This new initiative is intended to support court leadership to guide collaborative community discussions that result in a more effective and prevention- focused system. It identifies points of prevention and intervention within community services, the child welfare system, and the court to develop a comprehensive picture of how children and families enter and move through the child welfare and court systems. A follow-up webinar will be held April 27th, and registration for that event is now open.

Research and Resources

Ways to Manage Physical and Mental Health for Judges And Court Employees As the pandemic is entering its thirteenth month much of the focus has been on how to ensure judges and court staff get vaccinated and avoid issues related to the COVID-19 virus. That said, the pandemic has also put pressure and strain on the physical and mental wellbeing of these same people. In seeking to return to some form of normality, courts should be aware of the opportunities they have to address these health issues. An NCSC resource.

NAMI Ask the Expert — Help, Not Handcuffs: A Webinar Series Focused On Addressing Mental Health Crises With Comprehensive Community Responses In part three of this NAMI webinar series, experts from Georgia’s Behavioral Health Link and Arizona’s Connections Health Solutions will provide overviews of two models of community crisis response that have proven effective. Following the presentations, NAMI’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Duckworth will lead a guided discussion and Q&A with our panel of experts.

The Community Responder Model: How Cities Can Send the Right Responder to Every 911 Call Recent original analysis conducted by the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) examined 911 police calls for service from eight cities and found that 23 to 39 percent of calls were low priority or nonurgent, while only 18 to 34 percent of calls were life-threatening emergencies. While many 911 calls do merit an emergency police response, unnecessarily dispatching armed officers to calls where their presence is unnecessary is more than just an ineffective use of safety resources; it can also create substantially adverse outcomes for communities of color, individuals with behavioral health disorders and disabilities, and other groups who have been disproportionately affected by the American criminal justice system.

The Role of Probation and Parole in Making Housing a Priority for People with Behavioral Health Needs Safe, affordable, and permanent housing is widely recognized as one of the most crucial components of successful reentry. But finding permanent housing is often a challenge for people leaving prison or jail, particularly people with behavioral health needs who experience higher rates of homelessness compared to the general population and often cycle between shelters, jails, and psychiatric institutions. Parole and probation officers are well positioned to help people with behavioral health needs obtain safe and affordable housing as they reenter the community. But these officers cannot do it alone; by collaborating with homelessness system providers, they can help their clients achieve positive outcomes and make housing a reentry priority. A CSG Justice Center publication.

Massachusetts Probation Service Offers Innovative Alternatives to Incarceration In June 2018, the Massachusetts Executive Office of the Trial Court partnered with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Results First initiative to review research of the probation service programs operated at community corrections centers across the state, including the center in Brockton. The goal was to determine whether there is data-driven evidence that these programs improve client outcomes and ensure that public funds are being used effectively. The short answer: yes.

Think Bigger Do Good Webinar, Enhancing the Capacity of the Mental Health and Addiction Workforce: A Framework The webinar will feature authors Benjamin F. Miller, Psy.D. of Well Being Trust and Anita Burgos, Ph.D. of Bipartisan Policy Center. They will discuss a new framework for the mental health and addiction workforce in the United States. The discussion will highlight policy considerations that reconceptualize workforce to enhance the overall capacity.

NCJFCJ Tune-In Tuesdays Webinar Series NCJFCJ and NADCP are pleased to announce the Tune-In Tuesdays Webinar series. Tune-In Tuesdays will occur each quarter and will provide JDTC team members with practical tools to address common challenges in JDTC programs. This first webinar will focus on the importance of information sharing and the developing memorandums of understanding to corroboratively work on a JDTC team. During this interactive session, participants will explore real world information sharing. In addition, participants will receive practice approaches to create and renewing MOUs to ensure that information sharing across the team is effective and appropriate.

SAMHSA Community Mental Health Centers Grant Announcement The purpose of this program is to enable community mental health centers to support and restore the delivery of clinical services that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and effectively address the needs of individuals with serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI), and individuals with SMI or SED and substance use disorders, referred to as co-occurring disorder (COD). SAMHSA plans to issue approximately 165–825 awards of up to $500,000–$2,500,000 per year for up to 2 years.

Prioritizing Employee Mental Health Employers: Do you understand the pros and cons of traditional employee assistance programs (EAPs)? Have you considered EAP alternatives such as onsite and digital mental health providers? Do you know how to collaborate with your health plan reps to ensure your employees have equal coverage of mental health and addiction care? Get the answers you need in the Kennedy Forum’s 3-part webinar series, “Prioritizing Employee Mental Health Care & Internal Supports," starting April 15th.

NASMHPD Update Policy updates and resources from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

CSG Justice Center Briefing How state leaders can take action on barriers to education and employment for people with juvenile records; prioritizing permanent housing for people with behavioral health needs; and staying connected with our criminal justice roundup.

Competence to Stand Trial Community of Practice National Webinar Series The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges to caring for people who are incarcerated. Some initial interventions that were intended to prevent the spread of disease, such as decarceration, quarantine, limiting visitation, and stopping inter-facility transfers, had unintended consequences. In San Luis Obispo County, California, the number of people with serious mental illness treated in jail increased in spite of a decreasing jail population, and the symptoms in those treated also worsened. The San Luis Obispo team will take you through how real-time data collection alerted them to some concerning trends, how county leaders became engaged in finding solutions, the work that was done to treat and divert these individuals, and where the jail is now.

From Siloes to Collaboration: Linking Health Care, Public Safety, and Behavioral Health This SAMHSA Gains Center webinar explores ways to build and support collaborations between key stakeholders to improve outcomes for "familiar faces" within these systems who experience mental and substance use disorders. Essential aspects of engaging partners and cultivating buy-in will be presented, including practical considerations for building collaboration in both correctional and community-based settings, training needs, technological supports, staffing, and funding.

Homeless and Housing Resource Center Partner Webinars: Self-care, Housing Access, Recovery Supports, and More These webinars are being facilitated by our national partners and may be of interest to the HHRC Community: Addressing the Critical Need for Housing and Strategies to Overcome Barriers to Improve Housing Access, Integrating Recovery Supports into Services for People Experiencing Homelessness, and others.

No Ordinary Process: The Flaws in Illinois Courts' Use of Remote Video Technology in Mental Health Trials This article details why, however noble the impetus for such implementation, the current framework throughout Illinois for remote video conference proceedings in mental health cases is too rigid, and likely unlawful. Part I of this article provides a national backdrop of how courts have generally incorporated remote video proceedings due to the ongoing pandemic and then narrows its focus to the current configuration for remote trials in Illinois. Part II goes into detail about the specific challenges of remote video conference technology in Illinois mental health matters and highlights the existing practical gaps to such an approach as well as some outright substantive problems with conducting remote video conference trials under the current scheme.

Mental Health America Tools 2 Thrive The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of people of all ages. Now, more than ever, it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles, because that stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help. In 2021, we will continue with our theme of Tools 2 Thrive, providing practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation.

TAC Research Weekly: The Decline of Clinical Research on Serious Mental Illness at the NIMH Utilizing the RCDC database, the authors found that between 2016 and 2019, NIMH decreased research projects related to bipolar disorder by 25% and projects on schizophrenia by 17.5%. Additionally, an analysis of data from revealed that between 2003 and 2019, NIMH decreased support for treatment trials on schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder by 90%. Finally, a careful review of the NIMH Strategic Plan for Research suggests there is little to no plan to shift priorities at the NIMH for the next five years.

JCOIN Webinar: The Cascade of Care Framework The OUD Cascade of Care framework provides a structural model to help communities identify interventions across four domains: prevention, identification, treatment, and recovery. The framework also provides a unified set of quality measures to treat individuals with OUD, including engagement in care, initiation of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), retention in treatment, and remission.

SAMHSA Training and Technical Assistance Related to COVID-19 An updated link to a wide variety of SAMHSA sponsored resources.

MHTTC Pathways April Newsletter Includes links to a best practices library, regional MHTTC highlights, and other resources from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network.

COSSAP Digest Upcoming webinars, events, and funding opportunities from the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program.

Mental Health America: News from National Details on the upcoming national MHA conference, a Mental Health Month Toolkit (May is Mental Health Month), and a workplace stress report.

In the News

ONDCP Releases Priorities for Year One of the Biden-Harris Administration Specifically, these priorities include:

  • Expanding access to evidence-based treatment;
  • Advancing racial equity issues in our approach to drug policy;
  • Enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts;
  • Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use;
  • Reducing the supply of illicit substances;
  • Advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and
  • Expanding access to recovery support services.

Rush Touts Courts' Adaptation During State of the Judiciary Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush this week lauded the work of the state's courts to adjust to the pandemic. Rush says the pandemic has also highlighted the need for the state's nearly 130 problem-solving courts to help with behavioral health and mental health issues for Hoosiers, which have seen an increase. She also underscored the need for pretrial reforms, including using an evidence-based risk assessment system that allows courts to identify candidates to receive treatment, rather than being sent to jail.

Police are Often First Responders to Mental Health Crises, but Tragedies are Prompting Change With many community mental health clinics now shuttered, the spotlight on racial justice intensifying and chronic stressors surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic growing, there is a gnawing sense of urgency nationwide in both small towns and large urban areas to change how behavioral health issues are handled.

Involuntary Commitment Battlefield Diagrammed By Doctor Who Studied All Sides When I lecture about the battle over involuntary psychiatric care, I like to present a picture of the battlefield as I see it. Those on the “pro” side of my orange battlefield are generally the devastated parents of those with psychiatric disorders who are helplessly watching their children struggle, who want a better life for them and feel that if only they could be forced to get care, then they would live better, safer, and healthier lives.  The opposition groups consist mostly of people who feel they have been injured by psychiatry and civil rights attorneys.

To Achieve Mental Health Equity, Dismantle Social Injustice As two Black women psychiatrists, in a field in which just 2 percent of all psychiatrists are black, we are repeatedly confronted with a disturbing trend in how the mental health system in the United States works. A majority of Black and Latinx adults with mental health problems do not have access to treatment, and almost 90 percent of Black and Latinx adults who have substance use disorders in the U.S. do not have access to effective care. Indigenous populations have higher rates of alcohol use disorder than other populations, and Black people are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, labeled as hostile and loaded up on high doses of antipsychotic medication than white people. Transgender youth have higher rates of suicide than cisgender youth. The list of inequities in mental health goes on and on.

Preston Looper on How It’s Time to Standardize Mobile Crisis Services Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, telehealth and mobile crisis teams have allowed for much-needed flexibility in care amidst lockdowns and physical distancing requirements. However, peeling back why mobile crisis teams are often left out of the very emergency responses for which they’re suited reveals glaring gaps in protocols, availability, consistency, and funding. As states prepare for 988, they have a rare opportunity to standardize their crisis system.

Kids in the ER are waiting longer for mental health care Children taken to the emergency room for mental health concerns are more likely to be stuck there for extended stays than they were a decade ago, according to new research. Hispanic children are almost three times more likely than white children to experience these delays in care.

The Invisible Asylum The question now is not, “What happened to the asylums?” but “What replaced them?” Following the mass closure of state hospitals and the establishment of a legal regime that dramatically restricted involuntary commitments, we have created an “invisible asylum” composed of three primary institutions: the street, the jail, and the emergency room.

Sheriff Complains About Lack of State Hospital Beds In Virginia: Part of National Bed Crisis An influential Virginia Sheriff lashed out at the state’s behavioral health department and the General Assembly during a press conference this week stating that both needed to “stop passing the buck and step up to develop and implement solutions to address the constant bed shortages and other deficiencies in the state response to mental health crises.”

New Law Expands Access to Buffalo-Founded Veterans Treatment Court New York is expanding access to the Buffalo-started Veteran Treatment Court program with the passage of Senate Bill S1957A, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Tuesday. The bill increases the number of counties that a veteran who is charged with a criminal offense has access to, allowing them to participate in the diversion program if a neighboring county has a Veteran’s Court.

County Working on Mental Health Crisis Facility Bucks County is moving forward with plans to open a mental health facility to help those in crisis. The facility will be for people who may have previously been sent to the county correctional facility and is designed to offer help instead of solely running a person through the courts system or waiting for a spot to open at a state facility. The new center would work hand-in-hand with attorneys, public defenders, prosecutors, and police. A soon-to-be-implemented mental health court will also work with the facility.

Minnetonka, Plymouth police work together to better respond to mental health calls “It’s very easy to issue a ticket and send somebody to the court, but that’s probably not the best route for some,” Boerboom said, noting they are working on alternatives such as redirecting people to a restorative court for misdemeanor offenses. To address the increased demand for services, the Minnetonka and Plymouth police departments developed a partnership known as the West Metro Mental Health Collaborative, which meets regularly to discuss working strategies and to reduce duplicative efforts. In addition, the departments created a mental health unit focused on reducing repeat mental health-related calls and providing better outcomes for those in crisis.

‘Incarceration was pretty much my psych ward’: So should Allegheny County Jail provide therapy? Despite housing a large number of people with mental illness, most jails don’t provide therapy because of high turnover, inadequate staffing and a lack of funding.

County creating mental health court after governor signs bill into law Baldwin County is now one of the first counties in Alabama to begin creating a mental health court, after Gov. Ivey signed the bill this week. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Matt Simpson (R--Daphne) creates a funding mechanism for the new court, which is designed to get non-violent criminals with mental health issues treatment, rather than put them in jail. "We're terribly excited about it because it’s been something that's been needed for years," Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters said. "When your Department of Corrections and your county jail are the biggest providers of mental health in the state of Alabama, that's wrong."

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