Module 2: Your Community, Your Mental Health Court

Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum is a free online multimedia curriculum for individuals and teams seeking to start, maintain, or just learn about mental health courts.

Module 2: Your Community, Your Mental Health Court identifies ways to tailor your mental health court program to your community’s unique needs and resources.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify local- and state-level stakeholders who should help plan your mental health court
  2. Articulate common mental health court goals and ways of measuring these goals
  3. Understand how to build on local resources and priorities to shape your program

Prep Work

Provides background reading to introduce you to the topics discussed in this module. All resources are available for free online. You will need access to a computer to complete this step. Estimated completion time: 30 minutes

Presentation


Module 2: Your Community, Your Mental Health Court
Developing a Mental Health Court: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum is a free online multimedia curriculum for individuals and teams seeking to start, maintain, or just learn about mental health courts.

Quiz

Reinforces your knowledge of the concepts you learned in the module. You will need access to a computer to complete this step. Estimated completion time: 10 minutes

Questions

2.1. Which of the following groups of stakeholders do you think will face the most obstacles in starting a mental health court?

    

2.2. Sheriff Wall of Water County, a hypothetical county planning a mental health court, is interested in participating in the planning process for the new mental health court, but obviously has many demands on his time. How can the planners involve him in the process? Check all that apply.

    

2.3. Which of the following considerations are important for collecting baseline data to measure recidivism among individuals with mental illnesses? Check all that apply.

     

2.4. True or False: A mental health court should begin accepting participants within one month of beginning the planning process.

  

2.5. Which of the following are common challenges for identifying and linking mental health court participants to appropriate treatment and supports?

    

Answers

2.1  Correct answer: b. While many different combinations of stakeholders have successfully started mental health courts around the country, groups that do not include stakeholders from both the criminal justice system and the behavioral health system will generally face additional obstacles in starting a mental health court.

2.2  Correct answer: a, b, c, and d. Planners can use a variety of strategies to engage high-level stakeholders so that these very busy individuals can weigh in on appropriate strategic decisions and provide support where needed.

2.3  Correct answer: a, b, c, and d. There are numerous ways to define “recidivism,” which can measure re-arrests, re-incarcerations, or re-convictions (a). Jail bookings (c) are a common measure of recidivism. In order to do any sort of baseline measurement, the group to be measured must be clearly defined, which is why (b) and (d) are necessary. While (e) would provide interesting information about how much the target group is accessing behavioral health services, it is not necessary to calculate recidivism.

2.4  Correct answer: False. A good planning process can take six to nine months in order to identify all stakeholders, map all community needs, and build consensus about the program’s goals. It is common for programs to start small with a couple of participants to try out and then refine policies and procedures. For more discussion on starting with a pilot program, see Module 8: Program Management.

2.5  Correct answer: d. A careful and complete inventory of available services and supports needs to be conducted during the planning phase and regularly revisited once the program is operational. Program participants’ success and the success of the mental health court largely depend on the capacity to link participants with appropriate services and supports as soon as they are enrolled in the program.

Activities Guide

Additional Resources Policy and Practice Guides

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. Available at: http://gainscenter.samhsa.gov/cms-assets/documents/73659-994452.ebpchecklistfinal.pdf

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.

Collaborative for the Application of Prevention Technologies. “About the Strategic Prevention Framework.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. n.d. Available at: http://captus.samhsa.gov/access-resources/about-strategic-prevention-framework-spf (accessed September 8, 2012)

This publication outlines a step-by-step planning process to guide the selection of culturally competent and appropriate mental health diversion programs and treatment strategies.

Council of State Governments Justice Center. Mental Health Courts: A Primer for Policymakers and Practitioners. New York, NY: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2008. See esp. Page 8, “What Are the Goals of Mental Health Courts?” Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/courts/publications/mental-health-courts-a-primer-for-policymakers-and-practitioners/

This primer identifies ten key components found in successful initiatives to improve outcomes for people with mental illnesses under probation supervision. Page 8 highlights the specific goals of mental health courts.

Justice Management Institute. Research-Based Smarter Sentencing: Participant Notebook. Denver, CO: Justice Management Institute, n.d. See esp. Module 5, “Action Plan Template.” Available at: http://www.jmijustice.org/current-projects/SmarterSentencingParticipantNotebook.pdf

This template provides problem-solving court practitioners with resources to plan and incorporate EBPs into treatment and case plans.

Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration. Rural Behavioral Health Programs and Promising Practices. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, 2011. Available at: http://www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/pdf/ruralbehavioralmanual05312011.pdf

This document outlines the results of a survey of behavioral health service delivery in rural U.S. communities and offers recommendations to enhance effectiveness by adapting EBPs to circumstances that behavioral health providers face in rural areas.

Osher, Fred, 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. Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/mental-health/publications/behavioral-health-framework/

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.

Prins, Seth J., and Fred C. Osher. Improving Responses to People with Mental Illnesses: The Essential Elements of Specialized Probation Initiatives. New York, NY: Council of State Governments, 2009. See esp. Element 1, “Collaborative Planning and Administration.” Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/cp/publications/improving-responses-to-people-with-mental-illnesses-the-essential-elements-of-specialized-probation-initiatives/

Element 1 of this guide highlights the mental health court collaborative planning process and provides mental health court practitioners with recommendations and suggestions about the types of community agencies that should be involved in the planning and implementation of a mental health court.

Program Examples

Council of State Governments Justice Center. A Guide to Mental Health Court Design and Implementation. New York, NY: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2008. See esp. Step III, Section Eight, “The Mental Health Court Team.” Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/courts/publications/a-guide-to-mental-health-court-design-and-implementation/

Page 65 of this guide provides examples of mental health courts in rural jurisdictions that have tailored their programs to the needs and resources of their communities.

Goss, Stephen S., and Leonard Bailey. Establishing and Managing a Competency Docket In a Rural or Resource Challenged Jurisdiction. N.p., 2010. Available at: http://www.mentalcompetency.org/resources/articles/files/Goss%20–%20Establishing%20and%20Managing%20a%20Competency%20Docket.pdf?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/jusj30&div=24&id=&page

This article explores the challenges associated with running mental health courts and securing resources in rural jurisdictions.

O’Keefe, Kelly. The Brooklyn Mental Health Court Evaluation: Planning, Implementation, Courtroom Dynamics, and Participant Outcomes. New York, NY: Center for Court Innovation, 2006. Available at: http://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/BMHCevaluation.pdf

This publication details the evaluation by the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) of the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, a joint project of CCI, the New York State Unified Court System, and the New York State Office of Mental Health.

Zottola, John, et al. “Fostering Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaboration: Building Lasting Partnerships.” Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project Webinar, July 19 2012. Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/cp/webinars/webinar-archive-fostering-criminal-justicemental-health-collaboration-building-lasting-partnerships/

This webinar presentation highlights four mental health courts and the efforts they have made to build and maintain successful partnerships with community agencies and organizations.