Category Archives: Mental Health

Washington State Bill Addresses Safety Concerns of Mental Health Workers

Source: Mental Health Weekly, Vol. 17 no. 17, April 30, 2007
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Legislation, which includes violence protection training, soon to become law.

House bill 1456, also known as the Marty Smith bill would provide backup for mental health professionals during home visits. The bill is names in honor of Smith, a County Designated Mental Health Professional (CDMHP) at Kitsap Mental Health, a private not-for-profit community mental health center in Bremerton, Wash., who was killed on Nov. 4, 2005 when he went to provide care for a client during a home visit.

Avoiding Jail Pays Off

Source: Sarah Steverman and Tara Lubin, State Legislatures, Vol. 33 no. 4, April 2007
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Diverting people with mental illnesses out of prison takes commitment from the community along with adequate funding.

Community mental health care can be costly, but it is far cheaper for states than incarceration. It costs around $26 a day to treat someone in a community mental health program, but it can cost more than $65 a day to keep them in jail. And states can tap federal resources to help pay for community mental health services. The vast majority of prison costs, however, falls on the state.

Delinquency Detour

Source: Sarah Hammond, State Legislatures, Vol. 33 no. 4, April 2007
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Treating mental illness in young people can keep them from a future of crime and delinquency.

Without treatment, these young people continue in delinquency and often become adult criminals. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that more than three-quarters of the mentally ill offenders in jail had prior offenses. Effective assessment and comprehensive responses to court-involved juveniles with mental health needs is necessary to help break this cycle and provide for healthier young people who are less likely to commit crimes, Cocozza says.

Helping Mentally Ill Criminals

Source: Donna Lyons, State Legislatures, Vol. 33 no. 4, April 2007
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Jailing offenders with mental illness serves no one, but new policies are bringing about needed changes.

The deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in the 1960s was designed to care for those with acute mental health needs in the community instead of in state-run asylums. But the movement to be more compassionate and cost-effective in treating those with mental illness has had a down side. In the generation since many state mental hospitals closed and treatment approaches shifted to the community, many people with serious mental illnesses have failed to get the treatment they need. For some, that means homelessness and crime, and advocates now decry what they call the “criminalization of the mentally ill.”