First Judicial Circuit Addresses Mental Health Concerns
The First Judicial Circuit hosted a workshop to begin strategic planning efforts to address mental illness (including substance abuse) and incarceration in our Northeast Missouri communities. This 1.5- day workshop held on April 26 -27, 2023 at the Boyer Event Center in Memphis, MO was specifically designed to address the anticipated changes in the criminal justice system related to incarceration.
“We worked hard to use this workshop to bring together all stakeholders from any organization that would potentially have information or services to assist in setting up a plan to improve options available to law enforcement and emergency medical providers,” said Kim Robinson, Mental Health Liaison for Clark County.
The workshop was geared toward generating local solutions for adults with mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse problems. Nationally, studies have shown that a large number of incarcerated persons suffer from a severe and persistent mental illness. Of these individuals, 72% also have a co-occurring substance use disorder.
The attendance included representatives from many state agencies, mental health providers, public officials from local, state and Veteran’s offices, law enforcement, court personnel, health officials, non-profits and corrections.
“The combined energy of so many groups coming together was amazing and good plans came together as a result,” said Nicole Rohn, Mental Health Liaison for Scotland and Schuyler Counties.
A collaborative process guided the discussion related to what services are available in our community to treat and rehabilitate those effected by mental illness with co-occurring substance abuse problems.
The meeting was conducted as a Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIMS). The idea was created by Policy Resource Assistance (PRA) who developed a workshop designed to help communities identify existing community resources, service, gaps, and opportunities to improve service, coordination and communication between mental health, the community and criminal justice professionals.
Participants looked at the intersections between law enforcement and those suffering from mental illness and asked what services could have been provided at that time which may have minimized not only the damage to society but also to the affected person.
“We were very pleased with the turnout. A lot of progress was made and new relationships developed at the SIMS meeting. There are still gaps in services which were identified and efforts will be made to see what can be done to fill those gaps,” said Judge Lovekamp.
The participants became more aware of the importance of the Crisis Intervention Trainings (CIT) for emergency responders and law enforcement agencies. They also learned that the new “988” hotline number for mental health is not only a resource for suicide assistance but also provides information to who may need mental health treatment or for families of those who could be benefited by help,” said Judge Lovekamp.
All the key agency administrators, staff and peer advocates for the mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice system in all three counties participating in the sequential inner set mapping which focused strategic planning efforts on cross systems, collaboration, and the reduction of system and service barriers with an integrated, local action plan. Each county them broke off separate groups to tailor a plan more specific for their county. To get more involved, please contact the Circuit Clerk of the County where you reside.