The Mental Health Foundation Congratulates the Institute for Behavioral Healthcare Improvement on the Success of their Criminal Justice-Behavioral Health Care Event in San Antonio!

The Mental Health Foundation was proud to help support the Institute for Behavioral Healthcare Improvements recent national conference on the intersection between criminal justice and behavioral health - a challenge facing communities all across the country. (Click Here to view and download the event News Release)

The Criminal Justice - Behavioral Health Partnership Promoting Integrated Health Care: Creating High Quality Systems for the Hard to Serve -was held in San Antonio to highlight the community collaboration efforts led by IBHI Board Member Leon Evans, President and CEO of the Center for Health Care Services, a not-for profit health center based there. A tour of the center’s Restoration Center and the related Haven for Hope, offered a glimpse of the progress that is possible when community partners work together for integrated approaches to services and resources.  San Antonio is gaining national attention for his efforts with community-based mental health outreach. (Here’s why - download Boston Globe article)

More than 150 participants engaged in extraordinary sessions filled with up-to-date and actionable information about best practices for ensuring community collaboration, mental health outreach, criminal justice reform and jail and emergency room diversion. See the full program here.

A keynote address by Pete Earley, former Washington Post reporter and author of the best-selling book, Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, set the tone with a message of determination and hope. That message was reinforced by Miami-Dade Judge Steven Leifman’s presentation on the continuing reform efforts that he has led in his community that have gained national attention. Both stressed  that recovery and progress is possible but not without persistence and bringing a lot people together and keeping them focused on the objectives - it’s not easy.

The sessions also included  overview on three national initiatives now underway with substantial funding: 

                - Larke Huang of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offered perspective on the resources committed for distribution under the 21st Century Cures Act;

                - Laurie Garduque of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation explained the 20 pilot projects in development for Criminal Justice reform aimed at addressing the issue of diverting individuals with mental illness to appropriate care; and  

                - Patrick Fleming of the National Association of Counties detailed the Stepping Up initiative and available resources to help reduce the number of people with mental illness in county jails. There are various ways that communities can connect to this initiative and pursue coordinated collaborative efforts, starting with simply building some consensus and resolving to address the issue.

                There was also a presentation on the necessity of strategic community collaborative effort by Ron Manderscheid, Executive Director of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors. They are tracking progress, community by community and compiling the data.

                Additionally, the International  Association of Chiefs of Police also has a One Mind Campaign offering guidelines for law enforcement to partner with mental health organizations, promote models for police response  to Mental Health incidents, including the use of Crisis Intervention Team training and, minimally, training all officers in mental health first aid.


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