New Task Force Resources Released

Task Force and Task Force Member Activities

New Task Force Resources Released The following resources are now available on the Task Force website:

External Funding Support to Lead Change Seeking external funding to support Leading Change efforts is a focused opportunity to promote court driven solutions to complex social issues. Regardless of success in securing external funding support, convening justice partners around a shared goal and interest is a valuable process that strengthens justice partner relationships.

Fostering a State Court Informed Behavioral Health Continuum of Care As State Courts have increasingly become the default system for addressing the needs of those with behavioral health related needs, embracing an active role in informing the vision for a behavioral health continuum of care is crucial to Leading Change. Although court and behavioral health structures differ between states, across the nation State Courts play a critical role in developing and fostering public health and safety strategy and innovations that not only work for individuals using services and supports but also for the courts for diversion.

CCJ COSCA Southern Region Finally Convenes Originally scheduled for 2020, court and behavioral health teams from the Southern region met for an Improving the Court and Community Response to Individuals with Mental Illness summit in Austin, Texas in April. Several states brought legislators and executive branch leaders together to plan responses to behavioral health challenges in their jurisdictions. Judge Steve Leifman, Dr. Margie Balfour, Dr. Sarah Vinson, and Dr. Debra Pinals presented alongside experts from participating states, and the teams are now preparing requests for follow-up technical assistance. Summits in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions will follow in May and June, respectively.

Research and Resources

NRI Data The National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute (NRI) publishes a wealth of data, much of it accessible to the public. NRI tracks State Mental Health Agency initiatives in prevention and treatment of mental disorders. Dating back to 1996, their State Profiling System database provides detailed descriptions about each State Mental Health Agency’s: Organization and structure; Service systems; Eligible populations; Emerging policy issues; Numbers of consumers served; Fiscal resources; Consumer issues; Information management structures; and Research and evaluation initiatives.

Laws Authorizing Involuntary Commitment for Substance Use The opioid crisis has spurred states to adopt new policies relating to involuntary commitment of individuals for substance use and addiction. This interactive dataset details these laws along a number of key parameters to assist researchers, policymakers, members of the media, and others in understanding the current landscape of civil commitment policy across the U.S. as it relates to substance use.

Teletherapy and hospitalizations in Patients with Serious Mental Illness During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Retrospective Multicenter Study The aims of this study were to compare the use of different intervention modalities with patients with SMI during the first wave of the pandemic and examine their association with emergency hospital visits and hospitalization rates six months later. Patients receiving teletherapy during the first wave of the pandemic seemed to have significantly fewer emergency visits and hospitalization rates four and six months later. Multilevel analyses revealed that patients receiving videoconferencing interventions had fewer hospitalizations six months after the first wave. The study concludes that teletherapy is a useful tool for protection against hospitalizations and can be used as an alternative to in-person therapy, to ensure continuity of care for patients with SMI.

National Association of Medicaid Directors Federal Policy Brief: The IMD Exclusion the IMD exclusion bars Medicaid from receiving federal dollars to pay for mental health and substance use care provided in facilities with more than 16 beds. This leads to a stark inequity in access to care: unlike in Medicare or private insurance, Medicaid cannot cover many inpatient psychiatric services, even when they are recommended by a physician or mental health professional. It’s important to note that state Medicaid programs can still cover services in IMDs through a handful of pathways, including Section 1115 demonstration waivers, a 1915(l) state plan option (authorized through the SUPPORT Act) to provide substance use services, or in-lieu-of payments in managed care. As of 2019, most states used at least one of these options.

Reflections and Reactions Regarding the Model Veterans Treatment Court Act “In this Article I will review one proposed cure for the lack of uniformity: the Model Veterans Treatment Court Act (“Act”) created by the Uniform Law Commission. One focus will be on action, and reaction, regarding the first state to have adopted a version of the Act: Utah. Another focus will be on the approach taken by the Johnson County, Kansas VTC--which, by contrast, was created without any legislation--and reviewing how and why it differs from both the Act and Utah's version. I approach this review with a background in both the military and the law. In the 1970s, I served in the U.S. Marine Corps, primarily as a combat engineering officer, with several deployments to the Western Pacific. I later practiced law for twenty years and served seventeen years on the Kansas Supreme Court, the last ten as Chief Justice.” (Westlaw link)

Putting the “VA” in VTCS: How Facilitating VA Access Can Make Veterans Treatment Courts More Effective This Article argues for better integration between Veterans Treatment Courts (“VTCs”) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) by increasing court staff’s training and knowledge about VA benefits. We provide detailed information about the range of services available through the VA and call for greater integration of these two disparate but increasingly interdependent organizations—the VA and VTCs—so those who need VA benefits most do not suffer from inadequate access to the benefits they have earned.

Welcome to the Crisis Roadmap The Crisis Roadmap is a single point of access for high-quality and up-to-date behavioral health crisis information. Here, you will be able to easily navigate The Roadmap, a landmark report outlining the essential elements, measurable standards, and best practices when designing an ideal crisis system, learn how to evaluate your own community’s crisis system using our Crisis Report Card, and access the latest and most notable crisis-related Resources and News.

Launching 988: What Do We Need to Know and How Might It Go? Join us for a panel discussion about how school and mental health leaders are preparing their workforce for the launch of 988. The expansion of the current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline program to effectively triage, respond, and stabilize individuals experiencing a mental health crisis will require significant workforce expansion and training. This session invites regional 988 implementers to share opportunities and challenges during this transition.

Guide to Methamphetamine Use, Treatment, and Housing Considerations for People Experiencing Homelessness The transition into permanent supportive housing following homelessness or housing instability can be particularly challenging for individuals who use methamphetamine and other stimulants. However, there are interventions and supports that can help improve safety, independence, and recovery in housing. This guide explores how service providers can better support people who use methamphetamine in the process of transitioning into and maintaining housing.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day 2022: Peer Support for Youth and Families A SAMHSA webinar event commemorating child and youth mental health and honoring youth and family peer support.

CSG Justice Center Justice Briefing Reentry 2030 launch; reentry tool helps people sustain recovery from substance use disorders; free police-mental health collaboration support; and how effective continuum of care partnerships can prevent recidivism.

NASMHPD Update The latest resource newsletter from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

BJA Funding Opportunities Includes a list of upcoming BJA grant application deadlines and parameters.

SAMHSA Headlines Includes information on upcoming SAMHSA grant application deadlines, and announcements of upcoming events.

SJI Federal Grant Programs: Funding Guide This State Justice Institute document provides information on current federal funding opportunities. It is intended that the resource will highlight key information to help jurisdictions make decisions about whether to pursue these funding opportunities.

CSG Justice Center Justice Briefing Effective strategies for law enforcement and community partners responding to homelessness; speakers announced for next Justice Briefing Live event; new vice chair named; integrating education and training in young adult diversion programs; and more.

DSM-5 Criteria for Addiction Simplified The DSM-5 includes guidelines for clinicians to determine how severe a substance use disorder is depending on the number of symptoms. Two or three symptoms indicate a mild substance use disorder; four or five symptoms indicate a moderate substance use disorder, and six or more symptoms indicate a severe substance use disorder. A severe SUD is also known as having an addiction.

Peer-to-Peer Opportunity: BJA's COSSAP Peer Recovery Support Services Mentoring Initiative The PRSSMI supports organizations or jurisdictions interested in sharing implementation expertise or incorporating peer recovery support services (PRSS) into their portfolio of substance use intervention and treatment strategies. This program is part of the training and technical assistance resources available to local jurisdictions through BJA’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP).

In the News

Michigan Judicial Survey: Substance Abuse and Mental Illness a Top Priority As part of the planning process to develop a strategic agenda for Michigan’s judiciary, the Judicial Council conducted a strategic planning survey of over 2,500 judges, administrators, and leaders of partner organizations and associations. The survey asked which five of 25 listed existing or emerging trends would have the most impact on the judiciary in the next three to five years? Both external partners and judges/administrators rated “addressing substance abuse and mental health” as the most impactful trend facing the judiciary in the next 3-5 years.

Kentucky mental health program could be roadmap for criminal justice reform Senate Bill 90 will create a series of pilot programs offering access to mental health care for low-level offenders, even allowing conditional release, in the hopes the program can expand statewide. The law calls for at least 10 behavioral health conditional release pilot programs. Their locations will be chosen by the State Supreme Court. Lawmakers hope this helps Kentucky catch up to other states in addressing mental health needs and said there are similar programs in other states.

What to know about NYC’s B-HEARD mental health crisis response teams Adams’ latest budget proposal would put $55 million a year towards the city’s Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division (B-HEARD) program, a pilot started under former Mayor Bill de Blasio that provides a way for 911 mental health calls to be routed to teams made up of one mental health professional and two EMTs – rather than being routed to the police. So far, in situations where B-HEARD teams did respond to calls, 46% of people were transferred to a hospital – compared to 87% of people transferred to hospitals during typical 911 response. (Mental health advocates have long said that hospitalization is often not the best result for people in crisis.) When B-HEARD responded to calls, 28% of people were assisted on site, and 19% of people were transferred to a community-based health or social service center. Eight percent of people refused medical assistance.

Tempe police partnership with mental health professionals seeing positive results Nearly two months since the Tempe Police Department partnered with mental health professionals to divert certain 911 calls, the department said it’s seeing positive results. Starting in February, if a non-violent, suicidal Tempe resident called 911, they were transferred to speak with a mental health professional with Solari Crisis and Human Services. A specialized professional also works 20 hours a week side-by-side dispatchers to help transfer other mental health related calls. “It’s proving pretty effective,” said Heather Brennan, a dispatcher with the department for 10 years. “So far we’ve been able to divert a lot of calls.”

Race & mental health: Why people of color may be less likely to seek out services Hesitation among people of color to seek out mental health services may stem from a historical mistrust of the mental health community. Finding a mental health professional from your own community can be more difficult if you are a person of color. An ABC7 analysis of Census data shows white Southern Californians are three times as likely to find a mental health professional that looks like them than Latinos and Asians, and one and a half times more likely than Black Southern Californians.

Involuntary commitment regulations protect fundamental rights These strict requirements for involuntary confinement are a fairly recent phenomenon. Well into the 20th century, it was relatively easy to have people committed against their will. People whom we would not consider seriously mentally ill today often ended up imprisoned in mental institutions. Sometimes, the laxness of the standards even led to situations in which people had spouses or family members committed for personal convenience.

Video tablets are lowering suicides, raising treatment for rural veterans A recent national study of more than 13,000 rural veterans who received video-enabled tablets through the VA showed positive results. These veterans received more mental health care than other veterans, more remote or in-person psychotherapy, showed less suicidal behavior and had fewer emergency room visits.

Newsom's CARE Court framework clears first hurdle but skeptics linger Legislation sponsored by Gov. Gavin Newsom that would allow courts to order treatment plans for individuals suffering from severe mental health disorders cleared its first legislative hurdle Tuesday. The bill, passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, would create the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, which creates a new procedure in civil courts – “CARE Courts” – to implement court-ordered treatment plans for Californians with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. Supporters of the bill said Tuesday that CARE Court would serve between 7,000 and 12,000 Californians suffering from psychotic disorders, many of whom are experiencing homelessness. Opponents, however, warn that the bill could force individuals into treatment and strip away civil liberties without due process of law.

‘There’s winners and losers’: Colorado hoping to reform mental health, but failed overhaul in 2014 shows how political connections maintain status quo “If you keep putting more money into that system, you’re likely to get more of the same result,” said Reggie Bicha, former head of the Colorado Department of Human Services. “And we felt as a leadership team at (the department), and the governor’s team supported this, that we needed some new ideas and new perspectives, and we wanted these new dollars to go out in a competitive array.” Ultimately, that didn’t happen.

Opinion | Why Forced Addiction Treatment Fails It’s often argued that people with the most severe addictions won’t accept help because they deny that they need it. The California CARE Court system, for example, will treat people with schizophrenia, including those who have addiction as well, who are seen as more likely to be resistant to receiving treatment. But even here, coercion is rarely needed.


Judges Have a Crucial Role in Promoting Lawyer Wellness To the extent that judges have been enlisted in the lawyer wellness battle, so far their recommended roles have been to take steps to promote civility in their courtrooms and to consider making referrals to mental health professionals when they observe impaired lawyers in court. In New York, however, judges were recently asked to do more. According to a recent survey by the New York State Bar Association, 84% of New York attorneys believe that judges have a role to play in promoting mental health and relieving stress among the attorneys who practice in their courtrooms.

Workplace Mental Health Action Summit This two-hour virtual business summit will spotlight innovative actions employers are taking to strengthen psychological safety at work, improve access to mental health benefits, and center equity in their mental health strategy. Participants will receive a suite of new employer resources and communications tools, plus have an opportunity to sign-up for coaching to build their Mental Health Action Day plan.

Four Ways to Advance Mental Well-Being in the Workplace Workers have experienced increasing levels of stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers often recognize that these challenges negatively impact productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. Despite this, many businesses are still at the stage of determining the mix of mental health offerings to meet the varying needs of an entire diverse workforce, including those of low-income and frontline workers. BSR’s Healthy Business Coalition, in partnership with One Mind at Work, has determined key aspects of an effective workforce mental health program that meets the needs of diverse groups and ensures health equity and inclusion.

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