Task Force Releases Juvenile Mental Health Diversion Guidance

Task Force and Task Force Member Activities

Task Force Releases Juvenile Mental Health Diversion Guidance Upwards of 70% of young people in the justice system have a diagnosed mental disorder, and 90% have experienced a traumatic life event that can negatively impact their mental health. To assist courts and service providers in addressing the growing mental health crisis, the National Judicial Task Force to Examine Courts’ Response to Mental Illness recently released a set of Juvenile Justice Mental Health Diversion Guidelines and Principles. “While the recommendations are not new, necessarily, they are compiled in a manner that comprehensively describes how courts can implement effective diversion processes for young people with mental health needs,” said Teri Deal, an NCSC principal court management consultant who staffs the task force’s juvenile justice subcommittee.

2022 Kansas Mental Health Summit Draws Government Leaders, Attendees from Across State The 2022 Kansas Mental Health Summit is the first of its kind in Kansas. Its more than 600 registrants include judges, legislators, attorneys, court services officers, community corrections officers, and representatives from the executive branch, mental and medical health disciplines, law enforcement, first responders, and community leadership. Governor Laura Kelly, Senate President Ty Masterson, Speaker of the House Ron Ryckman, and Chief Justice Marla Luckert will deliver opening remarks.

The summit planning committee chairperson, Judge Robert Wonnell, said he was inspired to organize the statewide summit after attending a similar regional summit in Deadwood, South Dakota, in 2019. That summit was the work of a national judicial task force involving the National Center for State Courts, the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators, and the State Justice Institute.

Leaders of Kansas’ Three Government Branches Coalesce Behind Quest to Fix Mental Health Crisis Masterson, the GOP president of the Senate from Andover, said he couldn’t recall another time in which the three branches of state government worked jointly on a vexing societal challenge.

“That shows you the significance. Kind of that all hands on deck,” he told conference attendees. “You see this issue, many of you, live and in-person. In living color. Firsthand. First responders. Health care workers. The judicial system sees it in the courts.”

Research and Resources

New Study Identifies Gaps in Emergency Care for Youth in Crisis A study based on a survey of North American chiefs of pediatric emergency medicine suggests that not all emergency departments are providing young patients in crisis with the most recent, evidence-based care. The study found a widespread need for additional mental health personnel to evaluate and treat children and adolescents.

Implementation Labs Evaluation Quicksheet: Juvenile Diversion Youth may be diverted from the justice system at several points, including in lieu of an arrest, pre-petition by the prosecutor or court intake, or by the court, prior to adjudication. Successful diversion programs engage families and the community, include restorative practices, address youth identified needs, center youth voice, and set youth up for success with achievable and realistic goals. Resources for best practices in juvenile diversion are included in the resource section below.

Trauma: Community of Color Exposure to the Criminal Justice System as an Adverse Childhood Experience Before now there has been no concerted effort to examine the role that our criminal justice system plays in actively visiting harm on children and youth of color, who experience traumatic interactions with law enforcement officers and the judiciary at alarming rates significantly greater than those experienced by non-minority children and youth. Part IV argues that minority childhood and youth exposure to U.S. law enforcement agents and the justice system at large actually functions as an ACE for youth of color in a way that is not present for non-minority youth and, as such, should be added to the list of ACEs that are formally recognized by public health officials.

TAC Research Weekly: Accountable Care Organizations and Referrals for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness Analysis indicated that fewer than half of ACOs reported that providers have the ability to either offer or refer patients to specialty mental health support services. Only 57.1% of ACOs were able to refer patients to services with integrated dual disorder treatment, while illness, management and recovery services were only offered by 41% of ACOs. 37.7% of ACOs reported tracking or referring patients who had experienced a first episode of psychosis and just 27.6% reported a significant relationship with a CMHC.

New Report Uses Demographic Data to Show the Social Disadvantage of People Locked up in State Prisons Among the findings, half (49%) of people in state prisons meet the criteria for substance use disorder (SUD), and 65% were using an illicit substance in the immediate lead-up to their incarceration, suggesting that many people who are not locked up for drug offenses are still victims of our country's choice to criminalize substance use rather than treat it as a health issue.

McKinsey Health Institute and RI International Launch User-Friendly, Interactive Crisis Resource Need Calculator The existing version estimates the optimal allocation of crisis system resources and associated healthcare costs. However, the new iteration of the calculator is novel. Users can now examine the shift in costs and benefits of incorporating specific Crisis Now elements, separately or in conjunction. They can alter the sites of care they’d like to implement by adding crisis receiving facilities, short-term crisis beds, or mobile crisis teams. “For example, a county can look at the potential changes in annual crisis system costs if they only added mobile crisis teams or crisis receiving chairs or both.”

Federal Policy Briefs: Re-Entry from Incarceration Check out NAMD’s Federal Policy Briefs: Behavioral Health series to learn more about how Medicaid can drive transformations in our systems of care for mental health and substance use. Our fifth brief highlights federal policy opportunities to improve continuity of care and health outcomes for people who are re-entering from incarceration.

Help Wanted: Building A Pipeline to Address The Children’s Mental Health Provider Workforce Shortage Striving for a robust mental health workforce, Governors and their state agencies have developed targeted plans and strategies to recruit and retain mental health providers. These plans and strategies can address state needs both during times of crisis and beyond the pandemic. This National Governors Association brief describes options to improve this critical shortage.

Notice of Funding Opportunities: Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Grants SAMHSA is announcing the availability of CCBHC Planning, Development, and Implementation Grants (156 grants of $1,000,000 for up to four years), and CCBHC Improvement and Advancement Grants (another 156 grants of $1,000,000 for up to four years).

Federal Funding for all Treatment Courts Now Available FY 2022 grant solicitations are now available. Below you will find all the information you need to prepare your applications including deadlines, links to preparation webinars, and links to apply. Please check program eligibility before applying.

HUD/SAMHSA: National Mental Health Awareness Month Webinar Series HUD and SAMHSA are teaming up to present a series of free webinars this May to celebrate National Mental Health Awareness Month. The webinars will take place each Wednesday in May from 1:00–2:00pm (ET) and will feature leading mental health and housing professionals from SAMHSA and HUD, as well as practitioners from their respective communities. This collaboration will focus on mental health issues that our nation is facing in the post-pandemic world, plus issues specific to HUD’s communities.

Optimizing Treatment for Your Community: Utilizing Culturally Adapted Evidence-Based Treatments and Practices To improve treatment outcomes, EBPs may need to be adapted to better address cultural considerations, including differences in language, values, and other factors that contribute to treatment initiation, engagement, and retention. This webinar will begin with a presentation on steps towards modifying EBPs to increase cultural responsivity. Two presentations on culturally adapted EBPs – Motivational Interviewing (MI) for Native Americans and web-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Latinx populations – will follow.

Is Your Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program Trauma Informed? The rate of lifetime trauma exposure among people with severe mental illness may be as high as 90%. We know that experiences common to those we serve -- including homelessness, incarceration and involuntary hospitalization -- can be traumatic. For this month’s webinar, Policy Research Associates’ Lisa Callahan, PhD, will explain the impact of trauma on recovery and how an assisted outpatient treatment program can become more trauma aware.

Blueprint for Racial Justice Series: Jumpstarting Your State’s Pretrial Improvement Understanding and assessing systemic change plays a key role in ensuring courts are delivering equal justice to all. This three-part NCSC webinar series, “Jumpstarting Your State’s Pretrial Improvement,” looks at the history and legal foundations of pretrial release, along with research, challenges and opportunities associated with this method of supervision.

The Stepping Up Minute Apply now for a Virtual Community of Practice Opportunity on Crisis System Enhancements; and a Responding to Familiar Faces in Crisis, Part 3 webinar.

PTACC Ticker This edition of the Police, Treatment and Community Collaborative newsletter has information on first responder deflection learning opportunities, Vera’s Civilian Crisis Response: A Toolkit for Equitable Alternatives to Police, and more.

CSG Justice Briefing Introducing consensus-driven metrics for criminal justice data; speakers announced for Reentry 2030 launch event; a new partnership that will increase employment opportunities for people with criminal records; and upcoming events.

SAMHSA's GAINS Center Newsletter A conversation with the co-creator of the Digital Peer Support Certification; The Right Response at the Right Time: The Albuquerque Community Safety Department Leads with Community; new resources, and more.

In the News

Supreme Court Creates Statewide Judicial Commission on Mental Health The New Mexico State Supreme Court announced today the creation of a permanent commission to improve how the justice system responds to people experiencing mental health related issues. The New Mexico Commission on Mental Health and Competency will include representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, tribal governments, advocates for behavioral health services and housing, those with a life experience in mental health issues, and criminal justice system partners – law enforcement, prosecutors and defense counsel. “The commission will develop a roadmap for New Mexico to better meet the behavioral health needs of adults and juveniles who come into contact with our state judicial system,” said Justice Briana Zamora, who will serve as the Court’s liaison to the commission. Chief Justice Michael Vigil said, “The commission can foster a collaborative response in our courts and communities to effectively and fairly respond to those with mental health issues.”

Noem, DSS developing additional regional mental health crisis facilities across South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and the Department of Social Services (DSS) are working to expand the number of regional behavioral health facilities across the state to create a robust and comprehensive crisis service delivery model. According to authorities, without regional crisis stabilization, individuals in mental health crisis are often placed in jail or involuntarily committed to inpatient psychiatric hospitals when they could be served in a less restrictive setting closer to their home and community.

A New Mental Health Hotline Is Coming. We Need to Do Right by It The national 988 service can be a big improvement over the current system. But it will need adequate call center staffing and more care providers across the country, along with a strong communications rollout.

CEO Alliance for Mental Health Launches Campaign to Drive 988 Crisis Hotline Preparedness Includes links to  Consensus Approach and Recommendations for the Creation of a Comprehensive Crisis Response System and other 988 resources.

Health care is essential to ending homelessness With California voters placing homelessness as one of the main issues facing the state, creating new housing is at the top of practically every candidate’s agenda, as it should be. Homelessness is an emergency, and we must treat it as such. But health care – and that includes substance use treatment and mental health services – cannot be an afterthought if we expect our housing programs to succeed. Housing is a powerful form of health care. But housing without quality health care will not yield the long-term success we all want for our state.

How Washington State Lawmakers Did — and Didn't — Boost Mental Health Care This Year New laws around mental health issues were often placed on the back burner during this year's legislative session, as hot topics like policing and affordable housing demanded legislators' attention. Ambitious bills that sought to improve workforce shortages in the behavioral health world and some aimed at providing more psychiatric beds didn't make it in this year's short and saturated session. Neither did a bill to legalize psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms, for mental health treatment. Here are some of the bills that did — and didn't — pass in Olympia and what they mean for the future of mental health care in Washington.

Governor Highlights $50M Investment in Behavioral Health Idaho Gov. Brad Little and other state officials are highlighting one of the state's largest-ever investments in behavioral health care. The Republican governor in a ceremonial event that included Idaho Supreme Court justices and lawmakers marked the $50 million approved by the Legislature in a series of appropriations bills this year that Little has already signed into law.

Idaho Interbranch Collaboration Leads to Big Investment The Idaho Behavioral Health Council (IBHC) was established in 2020 through a partnership between the three branches of Idaho state government. Upon the implementation of the Council’s strategic plan, investments for behavioral health that aligned with the mission of the Council were recommended to Governor Brad Little. Through a collaborative effort between the IBHC, the Office of the Governor, and the Division of Financial Management (DFM), the following Council recommendations were included within the Governor’s FY 2023 Leading Idaho Executive Budget and were successfully appropriated by the Idaho Legislature.

How lawmakers plan to revamp Georgia's behavioral health care system With this legislation, the state will begin enforcing what’s known as “parity,” to require insurance companies to cover behavioral health and substance abuse at the same level as physical health. It will create a loan forgiveness program for mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals. And it gives police an option to refer people experiencing a mental health crisis to medical care instead of arresting them. “Those people don’t deserve to be in jail. They need treatment,” Tanner said.


Secondary Trauma in Lawyering: Stories, Studies, and Strategies In this Wake Forest Law Review article the authors emphasize the need for lawyers, judges, jurors, and others affected by the lawyering and litigation processes to come forward with their stories of how they have been directly or indirectly traumatized by their work or by their duties. They summarize the moving discussions by panelists for the Wake Forest Law Review's 2021 Spring Symposium about their experiences with secondary traumatic stress (“STS”), including testimonials from capital defense attorneys, innocence lawyers, military lawyers, a prosecution social worker, the former wife of a big-firm lawyer who self-medicated to deal with job stress, and a juror traumatized from a horrendous death penalty trial over two decades ago, and they discuss important studies that have been conducted on the STS experiences of public defenders and others.

We Need Trauma-Informed Workplaces As we’ve seen the lines between work and home blur and a fundamental shift in our expectations of the places we work, organizations have struggled to provide the support and leadership their employees and customers need. That’s why it’s so important that they take steps now to build the cultures that can see them through this crisis and the ones we’ll all inevitably face in the future. To do that, we need to build trauma-informed organizations.

Research-backed Methods to Drive Engagement in Mental Health in the Workplace One of the major challenges facing organizations is the rising rates of depression and anxiety, which can adversely impact workplace culture and work productivity. Kent State University combined diverse mental health programming and turnkey resources from Right Direction to generate high employee engagement and marked increases in outpatient medical utilization and greater prescription drug utilization for mental health conditions.

Advocates, courts work to fix ‘dangerous’ flaw in involuntary emergency admissions process A dire shortage of treatment beds has kept people suffering a mental health crisis languishing in emergency rooms for days and weeks without access to treatment. Mental health advocates say it’s had another serious consequence: the premature release of people held against their will for safety reasons. They are optimistic the state’s new approach to processing involuntary emergency admission cases will change that – and resolve constitutional due process violations raised by the state Supreme Court last year.

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