Introduction to Behavioral Health
Introduction to Behavioral Health provides a basic overview of behavioral health systems so that criminal justice and mental health professionals can share an understanding of the needs of their common clientele and ensure that treatment and court supervision are coordinated.
- Describe the components of the mental health and substance abuse systems
- Understand the symptoms and basic terminology of mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders (CODs)
- Describe the principles of effective treatment for mental illnesses and CODs
Policy and Practice Guides
- American Psychiatric Association. “Let’s Talk Facts About: Warning Signs of Major Mental Illnesses.” 2009.
This brochure identifies early warning signs of a major mental illness and treatment options.
- American Psychiatric Association. “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Text Revision (DSM-TR).” 2012.
The DSM provides a common language and typology for mental disorders in both children and adults. The new edition, DSM-V, was released in spring 2013.
- Blandford, Alex M., and Fred C. Osher. A Checklist for Implementing Evidence-Based Practices and Programs (EBPs) for Justice-Involved Adults with Behavioral Health Disorders. Delmar, NY: SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation, 2012.This resource contains an easy-to-use checklist to help behavioral health agencies assess their utilization of evidence-based practices and programs (EBPs) associated with positive outcomes for individuals with behavioral health disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Continuity of Offender Treatment for Substance Use Disorders from Institution to Community, Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 30. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1998. Available at: This publication offers guidelines for establishing a continuum of care for offenders with mental illnesses transitioning from correctional institutions to the community.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Definitions and Terms Relating to Co-Occurring Disorders. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Center for Mental Health Services, 2006.This paper provides definitions of terms associated with substance-related disorders, mental disorders, and co-occurring disorders.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Addressing the Specific Needs of Women Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 51. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2009.This publication provides behavioral health practitioners with an overview of best practices and gender-specific treatment interventions for women with substance use disorders.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment for Adults in the Criminal Justice System Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 44. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005. Also available at: This publication identifies clinical EBPs, tools, and resources to assist behavioral health professionals in treating clients with substance use disorders involved in the criminal justice system.
- Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment for Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 42. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005.This publication gives behavioral health practitioners an overview of treatment options and best practices for individuals with co-occurring disorders.
- Council of State Governments Justice Center. Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project. New York, NY: Council of State Governments, 2002.This report provides policymakers and criminal justice and mental health professionals with recommendations and strategies to improve the criminal justice system’s response to people with mental illnesses.
- Drake, Robert E., et al. “Implementing Dual Diagnosis Services for Clients with Severe Mental Illness.” Psychiatric Services 52, (2011):469-76.This article discusses the components of effective treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
- Kitchener, Betty, et al. Mental Health First Aid. Annapolis, MD: Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency Inc, 2009.This publication is the handbook of a 12-hour public education program that helps members of the community recognize, understand, and respond appropriately to signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
- Massaro, Jackie. Overview of the Mental Health Service System for Criminal Justice Professionals. Delmar, NY: GAINS Technical Assistance and Policy Analysis Center for Jail Diversion, 2005. This publication provides an overview of the adult mental health service system and identifies common challenges in meeting and treating the needs of individuals with mental illnesses.
- National Institute of Mental Health. Mental Health Medications. 2008. Reprint, Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2012.This resource gives an overview of mental health diagnoses and medications.
- National Leadership Forum for Behavioral Health/Criminal Justice Services. “Ending an American Tragedy: Addressing the Needs of Justice-Involved People with Mental Illnesses and Co-Occurring Disorders.” National Leadership Forum for Behavioral Health/Criminal Justice Services, (2010).This report highlights the needs of people with co-occurring disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system and identifies effective practices that communities can implement to address these needs.
- Osher, Fred C., and Irene Levine. Navigating the Mental Health Maze: A Guide for Court Practitioners. New York, NY: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2005.This guide provides a crash course for criminal justice professionals interested in better understanding mental illness and the mental health system.
- Osher, Fred C., David A. D’Amora, Martha Plotkin, Nicole Jarrett, and Alexa Eggleston. Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery. New York, NY: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2012.This publication introduces criminal justice and behavioral health practitioners to an evidence-based framework for prioritizing scarce resources based on assessments of individuals’ risk of committing a future crime and their treatment and support needs.
- Peters, Roger, and Fred C. Osher. Co-Occurring Disorders and Specialty Courts. 2003. Reprint, Delmar, NY: The National GAINS Center, 2004.This monograph gives problem-solving court practitioners an overview of the needs of persons with co-occurring disorders and identifies best practices associated with the treatment of individuals with co-occurring disorders in problem-solving courts.
- Scott, Wayne, and Crime and Justice Institute. Effective Clinical Practices in Treating Clients in the Criminal Justice System. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections, 2008.This monograph gives an overview of EBPs in corrections and behavioral health and provides clinicians and criminal justice practitioners with a catalogue of evidence-based interventions to treat criminality, substance use disorders, and mental illnesses.
- Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network
The ATTC Network provides professionals working in addiction and recovery with resources and tools to raise awareness, build skills, and improve the quality of addictions treatment.
- American Psychiatric Association (APA) APA is a member organization for psychiatry professionals.
- American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) APF is the philanthropic and educational division of the American Psychiatric Association.
- American Psychological Association (APA) APA is a membership organization for psychology professionals.
- Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights of persons with mental disabilities.
- Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence The Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence at George Mason University conducts criminal justice, juvenile justice, and healthcare systems research to inform policymakers and practitioners.
- Fred Friendly Seminars. “Criminal Justice and Mental Illness.” Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness is a media project that explores the topic of severe mental illness in America.
- Institute of Behavioral Research at Texas Christian University The Institute of Behavioral Research provides resources on addiction and treatment for individuals with substance use disorders in the community and in corrections settings.
- Mental Health America (MHA) MHA is a mental health advocacy organization dedicated to promoting mental health and preventing mental health and substance use conditions.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) NAMI is a mental health advocacy organization that seeks to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses.
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW) NASW is a member organization for professional social workers.
- National Association of State Alcohol/Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD)
NASADAD is a member organization for state alcohol and drug abuse directors.
- National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
NASMHPD is a member organization for state mental health program directors.
- National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH)
NCCBH is a membership organization for healthcare agencies offering mental health and addiction treatment services.
- National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP).
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) SAMHSA is a federal agency dedicated to providing support and resources related to substance abuse and mental illness.
- SAMHSA Co-occurring Disorders Website This webpage contains information relating to co-occurring disorders.
- SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Transformation (GAINS) GAINS provides technical assistance to help communities expand access to community-based services for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system.
- Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) TASC provides behavioral health services for persons with substance use and mental health disorders.