Stepping Up Initiative

Since May 2015, more than 450 counties have passed resolutions to join Stepping Up, a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

Recognizing the critical role local and state officials play in supporting change, the National Association of Counties (NACo), The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) are leading this unprecedented national initiative.

NACo, the CSG Justice Center, and APAF are working with partner organizations to build on the foundation of innovative and evidence-based practices already being implemented across the country, and to bring these efforts to scale. These partners have expertise in the complex issues addressed by Stepping Up and include sheriffs, jail administrators, judges, community corrections professionals and treatment providers, consumers, advocates, behavioral health directors, and other stakeholders.

Reducing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jail: Six Questions County Leaders Need to Ask serves as a blueprint for counties to assess their existing efforts to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders in jail by considering specific questions and progress-tracking measures. 

Here are the six questions county leaders need to ask:

  1. Is your leadership committed?
  2. Do you have timely screening and assessment?
  3. Do you have baseline data?
  4. Have you conducted a comprehensive process analysis and service inventory?
  5. Have you prioritized policy, practice, and funding?
  6. Do you track progress?

More Resources

Register for Webinar: Increasing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses Connected to Treatment

Register for Webinar: Increasing the Number of People with Mental Illnesses Connected to Treatment

Join the national Stepping Up partners for the third webinar in the four key measures webinar series, where a national expert joins representatives from Calaveras County, California, and Johnson County, Kansas, to describe strategies for increasing connection to treatment in jails and in the community for people who have mental illnesses; they will also outline data points to collect, analyze, and track over time.

Butler County Honoring Those Who Help Mentally Ill, Addicts

Rhonda Benson, executive director of the Butler County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said each honoree epitomizes the purpose of the Stepping Up Initiative, which is to provide services and help for the mentally ill rather than having them repeatedly jailed.

‘Stepping Up’ for Recovery

Miami County is already trying to do a lot of things recommended by the Stepping Up program, pointing to the partnership between the Sheriff’s Office, the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services, and the Miami County Recovery Council.