Task Force and Task Force Member Activities
Michigan Assisted Outpatient Treatment Webinar This webinar focused on statewide Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) in an effort to educate and proliferate the advantages of utilizing this extremely helpful tool. The webinar featured Task Force members Administrator Emeritus Milton Mack (SCAO) and Dr. Debra Pinals (Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programming for MDHHS). It was moderated by Michigan Chief Justice Bridget McCormack.
SJI Newsletter – Mental Health Competency Hearings Need Reform This nationwide problem – a crisis, according to mental health advocates – is decades old, but it’s getting renewed attention from state court leaders. This month, the executive committee for the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness approved a new report that examines mental health competency systems nationwide.
Illinois Supreme Court hires 1st statewide behavioral health administrator The Illinois Supreme Court has hired Scott Block to serve as the state’s first Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator. Block will serve as the Illinois Judicial Branch’s dedicated mental health voice and resource, committed to furthering local, state, and national behavioral health and justice initiatives that affect the courts. In this capacity, he will act as the project director of the Illinois Supreme Court Mental Health Task Force and provide professional guidance on the Illinois Courts’ response to behavioral health issues that intersect with the justice system.
Research and Resources
SAMHSA Awards Record-Setting $825 Million in Grants to Strengthen Community Mental Health Centers Following up on its commitment to invest $825 million in Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is announcing the distribution of funds to 231 CMHCs across the country. This grant program will enable CMHCs to more effectively address the needs of individuals who have a serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI), as well as individuals with SED or SMI and substance use disorders, referred to as a co-occurring disorder (COD). See what was awarded to your state or community!
Eliminate the Wait: The Texas Action Plan for Rightsizing Competency Restoration Services The Judicial Commission for mental Health has developed a set of resources to speed the competency process.
Teleservices Adoption in Problem-Solving Courts: Toward a Post-Pandemic Hybrid Service Delivery Model A large number of studies have consistently demonstrated that teleservices are as effective as in-person care for treating common behavioral health conditions, such as substance use disorders, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder; improving treatment and medication adherence; reducing symptoms; and enhancing quality of life and patient satisfaction. This SAMHSA resource describes best practices for implementing behavioral health teleservices in a variety of contexts in problem solving courts.
Whole-Person Care for People Experiencing Homelessness and Opioid Use Disorder Toolkit: Part I The Whole-Person Care for People Experiencing Homelessness and Opioid Use Disorder Toolkit provides a framework for supporting recovery and housing stability. Part I of the toolkit, released in August 2021, provides an introduction to homelessness, opioid use disorder, and evidence-based recovery practices such as trauma-informed care, motivational interviewing, eliminating stigma, and harm reduction.
Jackson-based restorability to competence to stand trial: Critical analysis and recommendations Although the vast majority of defendants who are adjudicated incompetent to stand trial (IST) will subsequently regain sufficient capacities to be adjudicated competent to stand trial (CST), there is a subgroup of defendants who do not show sufficient improvement in clinical functioning and functional-legal capacities to regain CST. The present article focuses on individuals who are unrestorably IST. We critically analyze the available scientific evidence on defendants who are unrestorably IST. (Westlaw link here.)
Remote Forensic Evaluations and Treatment in the Time of COVID-19: An International Survey of Psychologists and Psychiatrists This article describes the results of a survey of 295 psychologists and psychiatrists concerning their experiences and opinions of forensic tele-service work. Participants identified a range of benefits to using audiovisual conferencing technologies, including efficiency, convenience, ease of access, safety, client comfort, and flexibility. However, issues were also reported, including concerns that some aspects of the mental status examination, specifically appearance and behavior and affect, may be difficult to assess.
Boarding of Mentally Ill Patients in Emergency Departments: American Psychiatric Association Resource Document The treatment of severe mental illness has undergone a paradigm shift over the last 50 years, away from a primary emphasis on hospital-based care and toward community-based care. The result has been a reconfiguration of the country’s mental health system that, at times, leaves large numbers of people without adequate mental health and substance abuse services. Often their only option is to seek care in medical emergency departments (ED) that have not been designed for the needs of mentally ill patients.
Justice to Healing State of the Field: Mental Health Courts Podcast hosts Kristen DeVall, Ph.D. & Christina Lanier, Ph.D. welcome Lisa Callahan, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate at Policy Research Associates, for a deep dive into the state of mental health courts (MHC). Listen in as they touch on the unique qualities of mental health courts, ideal program structure, the use of incentives and sanctions in MHCs, measuring success, tips for implementation, and more.
Peer Recovery Staff’s Role in Engaging Families and Supporting their Recovery Journey This new four-part video series from the Center for Children and Family Futures (CCFF), along with the National Center for State Courts, features Peer Recovery Support staff from Quality Improvement Center’s Collaborative Community Court Team (QIC-CCCT) demonstration sites. Staff with lived experience discuss their personal journeys—from program participants to program staff and court team members—and how they support families in their own recovery journey.
COSSAP Webinar: Supporting Continuity of Care Throughout Justice Involvement The final webinar will cover effective and safe transitions to community-based treatment.
NASMHPD Newsletter Timely news and resources from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
CSG State of Justice Exploring innovations in crisis response; examining state prison population declines before and during the pandemic; how to manage data; and upcoming events.
CSG Justice Briefing This edition includes resources for National Recovery Month; how states can support local crisis systems; job opportunities; and upcoming events.
The Latest from The Kennedy Forum News and resources from the Kennedy Forum, including registration links for their upcoming Annual Meeting.
Join Mental Health America live for a panel event on the future of work with PBS Research suggests that employees are working longer hours than ever, experiencing higher levels of burnout, and confronting serious challenges at home and work. To understand how this crisis is reshaping the workplace, Mental Health America (MHA) is joining with PBS to host a live panel based on a recently released PBS documentary series, Future of Work. The conversation will delve into the challenges and responsibilities employers face in taking care of their employees' mental health.
In the News
Los Angeles County Seeks Director of the Office of Diversion and Reentry The position is responsible for oversight and coordination of all County-wide diversion of persons who have mental illness or substance abuse issues, and persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless upon discharge. The position has full responsibility for guiding the strategic, administrative, and operational activities of the Office of Diversion and Reentry (ODR). ODR is dedicated to preventing or reducing the incarceration and recidivism of youth and adults, with a focus on those suffering from mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
GAO Issues Report on CCBHC Medicaid Reimbursement Experiment In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) selected eight states to participate in a time-limited demonstration to establish certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHC). These states, in turn, certified 66 behavioral health clinics as CCBHCs. Required to provide a broad range of behavioral health services—mental health and substance use services—CCBHCs are reimbursed by state Medicaid programs using clinic-specific rates designed to cover expected costs. Under the demonstration, states receive enhanced federal funding for CCBHC services provided to Medicaid beneficiaries. GAO found that five of the eight demonstration states reported generally increased state spending on CCBHCs, while three did not.
"The Link" Provides Community with Diversion Services for People Experiencing Behavioral Health Crises After less than 2 months in operation, a community triage center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has already established new paths toward recovery for many individuals experiencing behavioral health crises. The Link was established to serve people who would otherwise frequently end up in the emergency room or jail, neither of which is equipped to effectively meet behavioral health needs.
What the Mental Health Crisis Looks Like on the Ground Level The phrase “just take care of the patient in front of you” rang in my head for my entire first call shift. These were the words of one of my attendings during our emergency psychiatry orientation. It is not new to physicians to feel as if they operate in a broken system. However, this feeling has been especially strong while training amidst such a severe crisis.
State asks to delay order that it create mental health plan The state of Mississippi intends to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that it come up with a plan detailing how it will work to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of people with mental illness. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves told the state it had 120 days to submit a plan to the U.S. Justice Department and a mental health expert.
Deputy Threatens Hospital Worker With Arrest For Balking At Admitting Patient Despite No Available Psychiatric Bed A frustrated Virginia sheriff’s deputy recently threatened to arrest employees at a state mental hospital because they balked at admitting an individual who was in the midst of a mental health crisis. The deputy had arrived without first having the patient cleared by a medical doctor for transport and without any medical records, including whether the patient had been tested for COVID. But with private hospitals turning away patients and state mental hospitals lacking capacity, law enforcement officers are stuck dealing with patients who have no place to go.
SAMHSA to Launch New “Office of Recovery” to Expand Its Commitment to Recovery for All Americans The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is launching an Office of Recovery, within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, to advance the agency’s commitment to, and support of, recovery for all Americans. September marks National Recovery Month, and in organizing this new office, SAMHSA will now have a dedicated team with a deep understanding of recovery to promote policies, programs and services to those in or seeking recovery.
Dauphin, Bucks among counties to test out mental health pilot program The five counties are the first to make use of a type of outpatient involuntary commitment called assisted outpatient treatment, which became a legal alternative to inpatient involuntary commitment in Pennsylvania in 2018.
Want to get the Behavioral Health Alerts newsletter automatically? Subscribe here.
Have comments or feedback about Behavioral Health Alerts? Contact Rick Schwermer.