Stepping Up recently premiered an animated video describing how counties can collect accurate, accessible data on the number of people entering their jails who have mental illnesses, a critical first step for making measurable reductions to the prevalence of mental illness in jails.
Several counties across the country are already using the data they’ve collected to drive change. These Innovator Counties are implementing Stepping Up’s three-step approach to effective data collection which includes (1) establishing a shared definition of serious mental illness (SMI) for their Stepping Up efforts that is used throughout local criminal justice and behavioral health systems; (2) using a validated mental health screening tool on every person booked into the jail and referring people who screen positive for symptoms of SMI to a follow-up clinical assessment by a licensed mental health professional; and (3) recording clinical assessment results and regularly reporting on this population.
If your county is following this three-step approach to collecting data on the prevalence of mental illness in your jail, email firstname.lastname@example.org about becoming an Innovator County.
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