Module 8: Launching and Sustaining Your Program

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 8: Launching and Sustaining Your Program introduces strategies for successfully managing your program, including involving internal and external program stakeholders and collecting data to “make the case” for sustaining the program over the long term.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify common strategies for funding your program at the outset
  2. Describe the role of data collection and evaluation in managing and sustaining your program
  3. Describe strategies for engaging your advisory group and team members in continuously improving the 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 8: Launching and Sustaining Your Program
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

8.1 Which of the following are true about process evaluations and outcome evaluations? Check all that apply.

     

8.2 Which of the following are important to program sustainability? Check all that apply.

     

8.3 True or False: It is always best for court team members to have separate management information systems for behavioral health information and criminal justice information.

  

8.4 True or False: The best way to address adverse events involving a mental health court participant or graduate is to wait until an event occurs and then tailor the program’s response to the particular situation.

  

8.5 Which of the following are some ways to engage stakeholders in your mental health court program? Check all that apply.

     

Answers

8.1  Correct answer: b and c. A process evaluation assesses whether the program operates in the way that it was intended, while an outcome evaluation assesses whether the program meets its intended goals. Therefore, it may take longer for the program to develop the data needed for an outcome evaluation. Both process evaluations and outcome evaluations are valuable in sustaining and improving your program.

8.2  Correct answer: a, b, d, and e. An aspect of sustainability planning is to proactively assess and seek funding options, rather than relying on receiving a grant when more funds are needed (c).

8.3  Correct answer: False. Ideally, a management information system (MIS) will include all behavioral health and criminal justice data with specified permissions so that personnel can see only the information permitted by privacy law and required for their positions. Integrating or bridging the two areas together whenever possible will facilitate access for all members and prevent duplicate efforts. However, in many jurisdictions, this integration may not be possible due to cost concerns, agency-specific record-keeping requirements, and the legal need to keep the information separate.

8.4  Correct answer: False. It is best to have a plan in place before unfortunate events arise, as it may be difficult to coordinate a response in the face of a crisis.

8.5  Correct answer: a, b, c, d, and e. The advisory group, court team members, and program graduates are all stakeholders who should play a part in developing and sustaining the mental health court. Sharing news and information, soliciting expertise, and creating opportunities for people to make personal connections are key ways of maintaining stakeholders’ commitment and interest in the program.

Activities Guide

This video features members of the Bonneville County (ID) Mental Health Court team, a real mental health court team and a Bureau of Justice Assistance Mental Health Court Learning Site, engaging in a simulated team meeting. The Bonneville team is not shown as a “model;” for example, some may note the absence of a defense attorney at team meetings. Rather, the Bonneville team represents real people facing real challenges in a mental health court setting.

Module 8: Adverse Event Planning
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.

Additional Resources Policy and Practice Guides

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 ten, “Sustainability.” Available online at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/courts/publications/a-guide-to-mental-health-court-design-and-implementation/

Section ten of this guide (starting on page 77) identifies key elements of a mental health court to help ensure sustainability and success.

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 18, “What Resources Can Help Communities Develop Mental Health Courts.” Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/courts/publications/mental-health-courts-a-primer-for-policymakers-and-practitioners/

Page 18 of this primer provides a range of resources offering financial support for jurisdictions interested in developing a mental health court.

Council of State Governments Justice Center. “Webinar Archive: Working with Data for Mental Health Court Practitioners, Part One: Data collection and manipulation.” Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project. 2010. Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/cp/webinars/webinar-archive-working-with-data-for-mental-health-court-practitioners-part-one-data-collection-and-manipulation/ (accessed September 10, 2012)

This webinar—the first in a two-part series—focuses on practical approaches for collecting mental health court data. The webinar also teaches skills and techniques for working with mental health court data in Microsoft Excel.

Council of State Governments Justice Center. “Webinar Archive: Working with Data for Mental Health Court Practitioners, Part Two: Data Analysis and Communication.” Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project. 2010. Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/cp/webinars/webinar-archive-working-with-data-for-mental-health-court-practitioners-part-two-data-analysis-and-communication/ (accessed September 10, 2012)

The second part of the “Working with Data for Mental Health Court Practitioners” webinar series presents perspectives on data analysis and provides suggestions on how to analyze data and meaningfully present the findings.

“Engaging Stakeholders in Your Project.” Center for Court Innovation. n.d. Available at: http://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/Engaging_Stakeholders_in_Your_Project.pdf

To sustain an initiative over the long haul, it is crucial for planners to build support among funders, social service providers, elected officials, community leaders, and the media. This “how-to guide” identifies several methods to engage stakeholders in mental health courts.

National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and Council of State Governments Justice Center. Responding to a High-Profile Tragic Incident Involving a Person with a Serious Mental Illness: A Toolkit for State Mental Health Commissioners. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, 2010. Available at: http://www.nasmhpd.org/docs/publications/docs/2010/ViolenceToolkit_Bkmk.pdf

This toolkit provides information and recommendations for responding to high-profile and widely publicized incidents involving individuals with serious mental illnesses.

National Center for State Courts. “Mental Health Court Performance Measures.” National Center for State Courts. n.d. Available at: http://www.ncsc.org/services-and-experts/areas-of-expertise/problem-solving-courts/mental-health-court-performance-measures.aspx

This resource offers a guide and data analysis templates (in Microsoft Excel) to help teams launch a mental health court and determine appropriate performance measures.

National Criminal Justice Association. “Webinar: Strengthening Court Systems: Understanding State and Federal Resources.” 2014. Available at: http://vimeo.com/90881889

This webinar provides suggestions for state courts looking for federal assistance.

Reilly, Dennis A., and Atoundra Pierre-Lawson. Ensuring Sustainability for Drug Courts: An Overview of Funding Strategies. Alexandria, VA: National Drug Court Institute, 2008. Available at: http://www.ndci.org/sites/default/files/ndci/Mono8.Sustainability.pdf

This publication advises problem-solving court practitioners on creating a long-term sustainability plan beyond the initial planning and implementation phases.

Steadman, Henry J. A Guide to Collecting Mental Health Court Outcome Data. New York, NY: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2005. Available at: http://csgjusticecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/MHC-Outcome-Data.pdf

This guide specifies the types of data a mental health court should consider collecting.

Waters, Nicole L., Shauna M. Strickland, and Sarah A. Gibson. Mental Health Court Culture: Leaving Your Hat at the Door. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts, 2009. See esp. Recommendation Two, “Design and Implement Performance Measures.” Available at: http://contentdm.ncsconline.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/spcts&CISOPTR=209

This document offers recommendations for sustaining a mental health court.

Program Examples

Center for Court Innovation. Mental Health Court Summary Statistics. New York, NY: Center for Court Innovation. n.d.

The Center for Court Innovation’s “Mental Health Court Summary Stats Template” is a sample data collection template for mental health court practitioners.

“Sample Documents.” Center for Court Innovation. n.d. Available at: http://www.courtinnovation.org/research/sample-documents?url=research%2F11%2Farticle&mode=11&type=article (accessed September 10, 2012)

The Center for Court Innovation provides several sample documents used by problem-solving courts around the country.