Mental Health Task Force Adopts Working Plan

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Task Force and Task Force Member Activities

Mental Health Task Force Adopts Working Plan Courts, jails and prisons have long opened their doors to people with mental health issues, overburdening the justice system, and worse, not improving the outcomes for people with mental health problems. The National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts' Response to Mental Illness is working to correct this imbalance by diverting cases from the court system and getting people with mental health issues out of jails and into community services that can address their mental health needs.

Research and Resources

CrisisNow: Crisis Questions & Answers A timely Q&A about funding crisis response resources, including 988 opportunities, federal funding and grants, and Medicaid.

Part 3 of SAMHSA’s Early Diversion VLC Series: Integrating Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) Teams into Early Diversion Response Forensic assertive community treatment (FACT) team programs are well-researched and effective interventions for individuals who are involved in the criminal legal system, many of whom experience homelessness and are involved in multiple systems of care and support. However, access to FACT teams may be limited due to funding or functional requirements. Presenters will provide an update on FACT research and discuss approaches to funding, criminal legal system partnerships, and improving access to FACT services.

Taking the Call: A National Conference Exploring Innovative Community Responder Models and More INSIDE: Crisis response resources for law enforcement, implementation science checklists, and ways to financially sustain behavioral health-criminal justice programs.

SMI Advisor Quarterly Newsletter Since last Fall we continued to create new resources in response to needs we heard from the field, with guidance from our national clinical experts. SMI Adviser also collaborated with external experts and organizations to develop new tools that leverage their knowledge and experience. Our new resources include:

  • A guide that provides an overview of considerations, assessment, and safety planning for suicide prevention
  • Infographics that debunk common myths around SMI related to psychopharmacology and technology
  • A regular series of free live webinars and on-demand courses that offer continuing education for social workers
  • Infographics that present data on SMI in terms of economic impact, treatment access, barriers to care, and more

It’s Time to End the "Serious" Dispute Over Involuntarily Medicating Incompetent Defendants “Although the Supreme Court confronted much in Sell, open questions still remain. Significantly, the Court did not address how a trial court should determine whether a crime is a “serious offense” when analyzing the first factor of the four-part test.  It is this unanswered question, which has led to the split in the lower courts, that is the focus of this Article.” The article concludes that “the time has come for the Supreme Court to expressly state that whether a crime is “serious” depends on its maximum sentence.” Washburn Law Journal

JPLI Newsletter INSIDE: The Inaugural JPLI Leadership Summit, Justice Reinvestment in Action: Oregon, Roadmap to Ideal Crisis System, Understanding and Managing Risks for People with Behavioral Health Needs: FAQs for Local Prosecutors, and more.

CSG Justice Briefing INSIDE: How corrections agencies are reducing recidivism; supporting reentry with behavioral health care, affordable housing options, and family ties; and upcoming events.

NASMHPD Update - April 30, 2021 A comprehensive compendium of resources and news from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

Long-acting injectable versus oral antipsychotics for the maintenance treatment of schizophrenia: a systematic review and comparative meta-analysis of randomized, cohort, and pre–post studies Evidence of comparative benefits of long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs) versus oral antipsychotics for schizophrenia has been inconsistent across study designs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the comparative benefits of LAIs versus oral antipsychotics in three study designs to inform clinical decision making.

Mental Health America Toolkit Each year, tens of thousands of organizations choose to use our official May is Mental Health Month materials. The materials reach millions of people with messages of health, wellness, prevention, and recovery. 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.

Telehealth for Substance Use Services During COVID-19 Adapting to telehealth services can pose unique challenges and opportunities for mental health and substance use treatment organizations working with adults and adolescents. Effectively delivering Screening, Brief Intervention and Treatment for substance use challenges via telehealth can improve access to treatment, patient engagement and overall health outcomes, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Join NCBH for our webinar, “Telehealth for Substance Use Services During COVID-19,” on Tuesday, May 11, from 3 – 4 p.m. ET in partnership with SBIRT Oregon, as we explore best practices, evidence-based approaches and practical tips for providing virtual screening.

SAMHSA’s GAINS Center Newsletter—April 2021 A focus on an Oregon peer initiative, a Community of Practice 2020 Recap: Competence to Stand Trial/Competence Restoration, and a resource spotlight.

TAC Research Weekly: April Research Roundup Includes summaries of research re mood disorders as a risk factor for COVID-19 mortality, prioritizing funding to improve the quality of community mental health and substance use services, and treatment nonadherence high in people with schizophrenia post-hospitalization.

PTACC Ticker Thursday, April 29th Updates on Deflection with PTACC: Guidelines- expanding access to treatment for opioid use disorder; Peer Support Legislation Reintroduced in Congress; and funding mental health crisis teams with Medicaid dollars.

BHive Newsletter – News, Resources and Learning Opportunities Links to the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) education and implementation support site, and a slew of upcoming webinars.

5 Ways Different Court Stakeholders Can Use Public Health Data and Resources to Address Substance Use Disorders Join NCJFCJ and expert faculty as we explore how judges, probation administrators, prosecuting attorneys and public defenders, and social service administrators can use their local and national public health data to improve how they address substance use disorder service provision in their jurisdictions. Four separate webinars targeted at different stakeholders.

Help Not Handcuffs Links to a recording of and materials from Part 3 of the series, and a link to register. For Part 4.

Competent but compromised: Representing clients on the spectrum between mental health and mental illness Mental health and mental illness are not binary states. They represent more of a continuum, a bell curve, a spectrum— and we are all on it. Here are five things you can do when you suspect your client is struggling with mental illness. At p. 14 of the linked Minnesota Bar publication, or see this Westlaw link.

Join the authors of A Brief History of the Criminalization of Mental Illness at a virtual book club on June 4 In spite of the well-documented failures of attempting to treat people with mental illness in carceral facilities, jails and prisons have become the largest provider of mental healthcare in the United States. Decriminalizing Mental Illness, provides a perfect primer on this growing problem as it reviews: the history and policy factors related to criminalization; original research on people with mental illness involved in the criminal justice system; pharmacological and psychological treatment strategies; and principles and guidelines for diversion out of the criminal justice system. Join the Sozosei Foundation on June 4 from 11:30 am – 1 pm EDT for a virtual book club featuring the authors.

You're Invited: The Future Depends on Community-Led Justice Join the Center for Court Innovation virtually on Thursday, May 20, at 4 pm ET for The Future Depends on Community-Led Justice. You will learn how to take bold action towards community-led justice. Like the Center, our panelists are doers—leaders actively engaged in changing things on the ground. They will share their unique approaches, challenges, and perspective on what community-driven safety looks like, what investments are needed, and how to build support for lasting change.

Wellness Program Implementation Series (Part 6): Components of a Wellness Program: Assessment You have recognized your people need help and want to implement a successful wellness program to address the challenges they face at work, now what? In this six-part series, we will discuss the steps needed to understand what a wellness program incorporates, how to identify the necessary components (such as funding, support from higher-up and providers, etc.), how to choose the best option for your team, as well as, how to implement your chosen program and assess its success.

In the News

‘All the Systems Failed’: Inside America’s Mental Health Crisis Cities have tried to better respond to mental health crises after a summer of demonstrations, but the steps taken so far are scattershot and do little on their own to prevent critical encounters with police.

Tucson Solutions: Police visit patients, offer rides to mental health treatment While patrol officers respond to active mental health calls, the mental health team works more as a follow-up unit. Members serve mental health court orders and train officers in other units on crisis intervention and mental health first aid. They have started training other city employees likely to encounter people experiencing a mental health crisis, like those who work for Parks and Recreation and Sun Tran. The goal is to protect people in crisis as well as officers: People with serious mental illness are more likely to be victimized or hurt themselves than to hurt others, studies show.

Louisville budget won't defund police. It will send millions to disadvantaged communities Louisville Metro Council signed off Thursday on a spending plan that won't "defund" the police department, as racial justice protesters have demanded, but will tweak how the agency spends part of its budget. Rather than using state forfeiture funds on equipment, the fiscal year 2020-21 operating budget that passed Thursday in a 24-1 vote will require police to put the money toward recruiting a more diverse force, additional training and exploring co-responder models that could send behavioral health professionals on calls with officers.

How an Atlanta 911 Study Resulted in a 311 Referral Line for Quality of Life Calls Low-level offenses like criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, possession and use of drugs, and indecency make up 8-10% and 30-35% of annual bookings at the Fulton County Jail and the Atlanta City Detention Center, respectively. “It’s vital to evaluate and pull apart 911 data to see what options are available and build out a full continuum that not only addresses behavioral health crises,” she says, “but all quality of life barriers and racial inequities.” That’s why PAD has partnered with 311, the City of Atlanta’s non-emergency line.

Congressional Hill Briefing: How Three Communities Are Supporting Mental Health and Decreasing Justice System Involvement Through JMHCP Join CSG for this live Congressional Briefing on May 7th.

Michigan Supreme Court touts success of treatment courts in new report Allegan County's 57th District Mental Health Treatment Court was highlighted by the Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday in a press conference announcing the annual report's results. Run by Judge Joseph Skocelas, Allegan County's mental health court typically takes participants about one year to finish. To successfully graduate the program, participants must show up for regular court appearances, check in with therapists, consistently take their medication and abstain from drugs and alcohol.

New Report Answers: How Can We Make Mental Health Part of Health Care? Bipartisan Policy Center released today a new report outlining what legislative and regulatory changes have to happen to make mental health a part of Americans’ primary and behavioral health care experience. Tackling America’s Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Through Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration was jointly commissioned by the Sunflower Foundation, the New York Community Trust and Well Being Trust, a national foundation dedicated to advancing the mental, social, and spiritual health of the nation.

HHS releases new buprenorphine practice guidelines, expanding access to treatment for opioid use disorder In an effort to get evidenced-based treatment to more Americans with opioid use disorder, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing new buprenorphine practice guidelines that among other things, remove a longtime requirement tied to training, which some practitioners have cited as a barrier to treating more people.

Mental health peer support specialists in high demand As community focus increases on mental health and substance use issues — particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic — the need for certified recovery peer support specialists may be at an all-time high. Opportunities in the field are increasing, Kinney explained, via law enforcement crisis intervention and mobile response teams, state hospitals, emergency rooms, halfway houses, jails, prisons, and traditional and specialty courts.

Opioid-Related News and the Courts Weekly Review: April 30, 2021 A roundup of recent state and national news related to courts and opioids.

Who Responds Best to Mental Health Emergencies? Mobile crisis teams and peer support services can help to serve those struggling with a mental health crisis and connect them to care, but can they replace police? As calls for defunding the police increase, the question has become even more timely and was front and center at a hearing on Thursday of the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism for the Senate Judiciary Committee, which focused on policing and behavioral health.

Staffing shortages are overwhelming Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals One of the biggest concerns is that state hospitals won’t be able to keep up with the growth. At full staffing, the facilities count around 5,500 employees. With roughly one-fifth of positions unfilled, current staff are cumulatively taking on hundreds of hours of overtime — or receiving supplemental help from contract workers, whose pay is often two to three times more expensive.

Advocate Says Arlington County Va. Could Finally Fulfill John F. Kennedy’s Mental Health Call Long-time Advocate Bob Carolla argues today that Arlington County, Va., could become a state and national showplace in providing community mental health care through a host of innovative programs. Will public- private partnerships help achieve the vision?

Mentally Ill in Jail, Part 2 — State and Local Efforts to Address the Issue Although senior policymakers are aware of the large number of mentally ill people in jails and acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, Virginia has taken only tentative steps to address the issue. Furthermore, the approach has been somewhat disjointed, primarily because of the involvement of agencies from different disciplines. Mental health, local community corrections (jails), and the courts all have a role to play. And, as is typical with government agencies, each goes off in its own direction, with little coordination among them. No one at the state level has stepped up to provide coordination and sufficient funding to support a statewide policy.

Milwaukee’s mental health treatment court could see an expansion Judge Cynthia Davis runs Milwaukee’s mental health treatment court. It operates differently than your typical court. Instead of sentencing people with serious mental illnesses who have committed nonviolent crimes to prison, it pairs them with medical treatment plans and community resources that can help them avoid committing crimes again. There’s now a budget proposal in the state senate that would expand the mental health court, potentially allowing for more participants.

NH’s adult court diversion can save lives, but is offered inconsistently and not tracked Diversion for adults often happens pre-conviction, and – unlike New Hampshire’s drug courts and mental health courts – if an offender successfully carries out a restorative agreement, the charge will be expunged from the offender’s record. But New Hampshire’s system of court diversion is largely inconsistent, and access to it is not distributed equitably across the state. That also means the state doesn’t track adult diversion data and recidivism rates, which makes quantifying the success of diversion nearly impossible.

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