Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bold Faith Ministries

Leisl Stoufer

Dear Readers,

My friend and advocate mom, Leisl Stoufer, is working diligently at starting a Christian non-profit organization that will ultimately provide treatment and advocacy for individuals and families who are affected by the devastation of mental illness.
Please support her in this adventure by liking her Facebook page and accompanying her on the journey. 

Thank You for supporting Leisl and Bold Faith Ministries!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Some people need longer term care to recover. This care is generally not available in most community settings. Yet, state hospitals are expensive, not politically popular and continue to be closed down. Where will persons who are severely ill get the help that they need to become stable?

Reposted with permission from the blog of Mr. Pete Earley

Could Untreated Mental Illness be the Elephant in the Room?

“When I start drinking and I relapse, I think of dying. When I’m in a real dark mood, I think of dying. And I don’t want to be around no more. I won’t survive unless I get help.”

Mike Tyson gave a candid interview Thursday with Today's Matt Lauer in which he described the potentially deadly challenges of trying to remain sober. 

People who struggle with serious mental illness and substance abuse face problems of enormous proportions. Mental health services are often not well prepared to deal with patients having both afflictions. 

Often only one of the two problems is identified. If both are recognized, the individual may bounce back and forth between services for mental illness and those for substance abuse, or they may be refused treatment by each of them.

There are limitations with traditional drug treatment programs for people with severe and persistent mental illness.  Treatment programs designed for people whose problems are primarily substance abuse are generally not recommended for people who also have a mental illness. These programs tend to be confrontive and coercive and most people with severe mental illnesses are too fragile to benefit from them. Heavy confrontation, intense emotional jolting, and discouragement of the use of medications tend to be detrimental. These treatments may produce levels of stress that exacerbate symptoms or cause relapse. 

Desirable programs should take a more gradual approach. Staff should recognize that denial of mental illness is an inherent part of the problem. Patients often do not have insight as to the seriousness and scope of the problem. Anosognosia is a condition that results from anatomical damage in the brain that impairs the ability to perceive one's own illness. Abstinence may be a goal of the program but should not be a precondition for entering treatment.
In the Today Show interview that taped Wednesday, Tyson said he has now been sober for 12 days but admitted he’s becoming “mean and irritable.” The “sober” Tyson is a person he’s not sure he likes because of the challenges to “live normal.”
“Yes, it’s a real challenge because I don’t know if I like this sober guy. It’s hard for me to live normal – straight is hard … I’m a king of the barbarians. There’s no one that could surpass me in the pain that I’ve endured.”

See the interview here:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kudos to Ohio!

Ohio directs $5 million to help families dealing with severe mental illness
Collaborative effort directs nearly $500,000 to Stark, Portage, Wayne, Holmes and Columbiana; still, director says, expanding Medicaid is key

Web Editor
.L. Schultze
Tracy Plouck directs the newly merged Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
In The Region:
Five northeast Ohio counties -- including Stark, Portage and Wayne – are getting a half million dollars to help children and young adults with serious and sometimes violent mental health problems. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on what the state’s doing to boost local efforts and why.
LISTEN: Ohio funds special efforts for mental health intervention
Other options:
 Windows Media /  MP3 Download (2:11) 

LISTEN: (Abbreviated) Ohio funds special efforts for mental health intervention
Other options:
 Windows Media /  MP3 Download (1:14)

Heritability of severe mental illness may be underestimated

By Joanna Lyford, Senior medwireNews Reporter
29 August 2013
Schizophr Bull 2013; Advance online publication

medwireNews: Around one in three children of parents with a severe mental illness (SMI) – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder – will develop such a disorder themselves by early adulthood, a meta-analysis has found.

While the children were most likely to develop the same condition suffered by their parent, familial transmission was only partly diagnosis-specific.

“As a result, the total risk of SMI and any mental illness in offspring of parents with psychotic or major mood disorders are higher than previously thought,” write Rudolf Uher (Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) and co-authors. “This should be reflected in genetic counseling and information provided by clinicians.”

The researchers identified 33 studies involving 3863 children of parents with an SMI (high-risk children) and 3158 children of parents without an SMI (controls).

Overall, 55% of high-risk children suffered from a diagnosed mental health disorder. Meta-analysis found that high-risk children were 2.5 times more likely to develop an SMI in their lifetime compared with control children.

High-risk children had an 18% chance of developing an SMI between the age of 10 and 19 years and a 32% chance once they were aged 20 years and above.

There was evidence of partial specificity of familial transmission, note Uher et al, such that children who developed an SMI were most likely to have the same diagnosis as their parent (risk ratio[RR]=3.59).

However, there was also evidence of general familial risk, meaning that high-risk children were at increased risk for developing any of the disorders studied (RR=1.92).

Uher et al say that their analysis suggests that the widely cited figure of one in 10 for the risk for familial transmission of SMIs is an underestimate, and that the real figure is around one in three.

However, they warn that their findings should be considered preliminary and conclude: “Cross-diagnostic research may be needed to advance the knowledge of etiology and plan effective preventive interventions.”

The study is published in Schizophrenia Bulletin.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2013

Free abstract

Monday, August 26, 2013

Who is to blame for this death?


FROM MY FILES FRIDAY:  I first published this blog in December 2010, yet the question that it poses  is just as haunting today.


Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI²) is being rolled out across Tennessee. What do you need to know and how can you get information?

Dear Families and Friends of STEP:
STEP has an ongoing mission to provide accurate timely and accurate information to families to build their knowledge and skill base. As part of this effort, STEP has been working with the Tennessee Department of Education and as part of the Disability Coalition on Education (DCE) to ensure that families have multiple opportunities to learn about changes that may affect their children with disabilities. This week STEP hosted a webinar on Response to Intervention and Instruction (RTI²) presented by TN Department of Education staff Tie Hodack and Theresa Nicholls. The webinar provided information about changes to the process for identifying students with learning disabilities and the RTI process for all students that will be in effect in July of 2014. The archived webinar and materials will be available on the STEP website soon.

The next opportunity for parents and family members, advocates, and staff from disability organizations to learn more is through in-person trainings being held in three locations across the state. Participants will learn…an in depth overview of Tennessee’s RTI² framework and how this problem solving model will be used to identify need for special education intervention. In addition, an overview of Instructionally Appropriate IEPs will be delivered with discussion around identified area(s) of deficit, establishing need, present levels of performance, measurable annual goals and progress monitoring.

The training opportunities are FREE to everyone! Details of what will be covered, dates, times, locations and how to register are included in this training flyer.

Special thanks to Carrie Guiden of The Arc of TN and Angela Webster of the Disability Law and Advocacy Center for spearheading the organization of these training days on behalf of the Disability Coalition on Education (DCE).

STEP will keep you posted about additional training opportunities. STEP is facilitating a webinar on the topic of writing Instructionally Appropriate IEP’s, as well as a video conference hosted by the Volunteer Advocacy Project (VAP) to cover both RTI² and Instructionally Appropriate IEP’s. We will keep you posted. Hope you can participate in one of the training opportunities!

Karen Harrison
Executive Director
STEP, Inc.

DCE/DOE RTI² Training Flyer

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Inquiring Minds Want to Know Why It's Not Okay to Treat People Like People

Read this first:
Living in shelters or on the streets is likely to be difficult, even for a person whose brain is working normally. For those with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness, this kind of life is often a living hell.  The majority of homeless individuals with untreated psychiatric illnesses regularly forage through garbage cans and dumpsters for their food.
A 1988 survey of 529 homeless people divided them into those who had been previously psychiatrically hospitalized and those who had not. The previously hospitalized individuals were three times more likely to obtain some of their food from garbage cans (28 percent versus nine percent) and much more likely to use garbage cans as their "primary food source (eight percent versus one percent).
Gelberg, L. & L.S. Linn. Social and Physical Health of Homeless Adults Previously Treated for Mental Health Problems. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 39, 510–516.
Then read this: 

Feeding Homeless Apparently Illegal in Raleigh, NC

Maggie, Hugh, and our partnering church speak with an officer.
Maggie, Sarah, our church partner, and I speak with an officer.
What Happened
This morning we showed up at Moore Square at 9:00 a.m., just like we have done virtually every Saturday and Sunday for the last six years. We provide, without cost or obligation, hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich to anyone who wants one. We keep this promise to our community in cooperation with five different large suburban churches that help us with manpower and funding.
Today officers from Raleigh Police Department prevented us from doing our work, for the first time ever. An officer said, quite bluntly, that if we attempted to distribute food, we would be arrested.
"They will arrest me if I give you a biscuit."
Me addressing the crowd. “They will arrest me if I give you a biscuit.”
Our partner church brought 100 sausage biscuits and large amounts of coffee. We asked the officers for permission to disperse the biscuits to the over 70 people who had lined up, waiting to eat. They said no. I had to face those who were waiting and tell them that I could not feed them, or I would be arrested.
In the past, we have had a good working relationship with the Raleigh Police Department. We knew that we could not use the park itself, as doing so required a permit, but that it was fine if we wanted to set up on the sidewalk, as long as we did not block the sidewalk and cleaned up after ourselves. We have operated, unmolested, under this assumption for the last six years.
By the way, each permit to use the park costs $800. Yes, eight hundred dollars. That would cost us $1,600 every weekend, and the officer we spoke to said the City likely wouldn’t approve it anyway.
Now, however, we are hearing that we can’t distribute food at the park, period. No representative from the Raleigh Police Department was willing to tell us which ordinance we were breaking, or why, after six years and countless friendly and cooperative encounters with the Department, they are now preventing us from feeding hungry people.
When I asked the officer why, he said that he was not going to debate me. “I am just telling you what is. Now you pass out that food, you will go to jail.”
What We Will Do
Simple: we will feed people. I am, after all (however imperfectly), a follower of Jesus, who said himself that when we ignore hungry people, we ignore him. The only question that remains is where we will do it.
We knew that with the upcoming revitalization of Moore Square, we would have to find alternative arrangements. We have been working to that end, but as the revitalization is currently unfunded, and has no start date, we felt we had some time.
Regardless, we will find a venue in the downtown core to feed people. We are committed to this and to our people, and it will happen. If you have a private building or parking lot in the downtown core you are willing to let us use, please contact me by email at
What We Won’t Do
We appreciate all the ways you have written in to suggest that we could subvert the system, but to do that only admits to the City of Raleigh that its argument is legitimate. We maintain we have done nothing wrong.
We feed people and have been doing so, and much more, for six years. On the weekends people have no where else to go other than the park because Wake County and/or the City of Raleigh offers no soup kitchens or other options on the weekends. None. There is no “official” place you can get a meal if you are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. You are left to your wits, and for the last six years, you could get a cup of hot coffee and a hot breakfast sandwich from us – because you could not get one from any tax funded location.
We have not hidden. Our work of bringing biscuits to the park has been mentioned in multiple full-page articles in the local paper over the years. We have had countless routine conversations with the police while doing this alleged illegal activity. We do not hide. And while, according to the City of Raleigh, it might be illegal to feed hungry people, it is most assuredly the right thing to do.
What You Can Do
Several things. While it was Raleigh Police Department that threw us out of the park and threatened to arrest us, we realize they are acting under orders. Ultimately, they serve the interests of the Mayor and the City Council. In the words of the officer in charge today, “You need to take it up with the City Council.”
And if history has taught us anything, it is, as Frederick Douglas said, that “power concedes nothing without demand.”
1. Below are the email addresses and phone numbers of the Mayor and of the City Council members. We encourage you to email them and ask A) why organizations, such as Love Wins Ministries, are being prevented from feeding people in the park, when the City of Raleigh has no means of or plans to feed them and B) encourage them to allow said feeding to continue.
Keeping in mind that we win over no one with anger or rudeness. Anger does not cast out fear – only love can do that.
* Out of town folks, call any and all of the City Council members.
* Raleigh residents, call the City Council member representing your district. You can find your district by entering your address here.
City Council At Large
Mary-Ann Baldwin - Email - 919-996-3050
City Council At Large/Mayor Pro Tem
Russ Stephenson - Email - 919-996-3050
District A
Randall Stagner - Email - 919-996-3050
District B
John Odom - Email - 919-996-3050
District C
Eugene Weeks - Email - 919-996-3050
District D
Thomas Crowder - Email - 919-996-3050
District E
Bonner Gaylord - Email - 919-996-3050
Nancy McFarlane - Email - 919-996-3050
2. Post the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or any other social media outlets you have access to. Again, we have done nothing wrong, and have no desire to hide.
3. If you have contacts with people of influence (media, celebrities, etc.), please pass this story along to them or give them my email address –
4. Stay up do date. The most current information will be on our Facebook page, which you can like to receive those updates automatically.
5. Pray for our friends who are hungry, and now have nowhere to eat. And pray for us, so that we do not lose our tempers and along with it, our soul. And pray for the officers and people in power, who are working against our goals.
Pray for all of us, in fact, because we all need it, and our liberation is bound up in each other.
As we know more, we will post it here. Thank you for everything.
Inquiring minds want to know why it's not okay to treat people like people.
Inquiring minds want to know why it’s not okay to treat people like people.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"He said he should have just went to the mental hospital instead of doing this, because he's not on his medication."

The 911 tapes from a frightening standoff and shooting at an Atlanta-area school show how a school employee's calm demeanor and kind approach helped end the ordeal without any injuries.
Police said Wednesday that school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff was heroic in how she responded after being taken hostage a day earlier by Michael Brandon Hill, a 20-year-old man with a history of mental health issues. Hill went to the school armed with an AK 47-style rifle and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition, police said.
Read the story here:  Details emerge about Georgia school shooting suspect

Quote of the Day

"Would we withhold life-saving medicine from an AIDs patient or turn our backs on a person with Down Syndrome and let them eat out of garbage cans and sleep under bridges? Of course not, yet every day in our nation, we ignore the medical needs of people with chronic brain disorders, men and women who could be helped, and instead allow them to be neglected and abused on our streets. Under the guise of civil rights, we demand that they heal themselves even though many of them don't even realize that they are sick. Assisted Outpatient Treatment, with built-in safeguards, is a sensible way to help ill people become stable and to reclaim their lives. If I had a chronic mental illness and there were medicines that could help me recover, I would want my loved ones and doctors to make certain that I got them, not to stand by and watch me suffer."
Pete Earley, Author of CRAZY: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness

New Study Released: Interventions for Adult Offenders with Serious Mental Illness.

Conclusions:  "lacked consistency in treatment comparisons ... therefore evidence is insufficient for both the incarceration and incarceration-to-community transitional settings."  This study concludes that more research is needed to increase "confidence in the finding that IDDT (Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment) appears to be a promising intervention for reducing psychiatric hospitalization in offenders returning to the community."

Some thoughts from this blogger who has had experience with a loved one incarcerated on four separate occasions and once tasered due to consequences of untreated severe mental illness: 
  • Funding spent on extensive research to design services benefiting incarcerated individuals is a reactive response to the problem and not the solution. 
  • Court ordered treatment before involvement with the criminal justice system could prevent some misdemeanors and crimes from ever occurring in the first place.
  • Jail and prison staff should never be primary providers/designers of treatment and services for people with severe and persistent mental illness.  
  •  If we were more proactive with treatment regimens such as mandatory Assisted Outpatient Treatment, then there would be no need for studies such as these.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do You Ignore Homeless People?

People may say they want to help the homeless, but their behavior reveals something else.

The psychology behind why people react the way they do when they encounter a homeless person asking for help.

C'est La Vie! "France’s primary concern is for the patient’s need for treatment rather than his/her dangerousness to self or others, as is widely required in the US"

Balancing Involuntary Treatment and Autonomy – How Others Do It

(August 20, 2013) One of the American Psychiatric Association journals recently published a provocative examination of how France – famously the home of “liberty, equality, fraternity” – squares its national motto with its civil commitment practices for people with severe mental illness.
france“In the United States 19th century criteria for civil commitment based on patients’ need for treatment and physician-controlled procedures gave way in the 1970s to dangerousness criteria, extensive procedural protections, and judicial review,” according to the introduction to “The evolution of laws regulating psychiatric commitment in France ” (July 2013).
“Although most countries have moved in the direction of greater procedural formality and oversight, many nations have struck a balance different from the U.S. balance between the interests of people with severe mental illness in receiving treatment and their liberty and autonomy interests. This description of commitment law in France offers an illustrative example.”
Indeed, it does.
According to the article in the “Law & Psychiatry” column of the magazine:
  • France’s primary concern is for the patient’s need for treatment rather than his/her dangerousness to self or others, as is widely required in the US;
  • Medication over objection is incorporated with the commitment order rather than requiring separate proceedings as is commonly the case in the United States;
The story also says that “compulsory community treatment” following hospital discharge has become a trend throughout Europe with Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United Kingdom embracing it in recent years and some Spanish cities currently experimenting with it.
“Knowing that France has chosen a somewhat different course (as has England, where criteria oriented toward need for treatment remain a basis for commitment) should stimulate us to consider the appropriateness of the balance we have struck,” the column suggests.
We couldn’t agree more. In too many states and counties, the US civil commitment system leaves patients who are gravely disabled and suffering from untreated mental illness to completely disintegrate before intervening to spare them, their families and their communities the consequences of non-treatment. The land of “liberté, égalité, fraternité” has struck a more humane balance. We should, too.
Read the journal article here
Re-posted from the Treatment Advocacy Center's blog
To comment, visit our Facebook page. 
Visit our blog archive to read all our recent posts.

None of it would have happened if Molly Simones had not picked up the phone.


Monday, August 19, 2013

STEP Workshop Coming to Knoxville Tomorrow and It's Not Too Late to Sign Up!

Dear Friends and Families of STEP,

STEP is pleased to partner with the Autism Society of America East TN Chapter to provide one-on-one IEP planning assistance to families and caregivers. If you need assistance, please bring your Individualized Education Program (IEP) and questions on August 20th!   

This one-on-one service is available to families and caregivers who have children with any disability who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

This is a hands-on workshop that is designed for parents who have attended the BASIC Rights Workshop and are ready for the Next Step - fine tuning the IEP document to reflect all of your child's unique needs to lead toward positive educational outcomes.

Participants may bring their child's IEP and learn specific techniques to use in developing goals and objectives designed to meet their child's individual needs.

Location:    Cherokee Health Systems Community Room, 2018 Western Avenue, Knoxville

Time:          August 20th from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Spread the word and drop in if you are a parent, caregiver or family member of a child with a disability who needs one-on-one assistance with planning for an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

To RSVP or for more information contact Brook Dickerson at (865) 247-5082 or via email at

Please forward this information to others that may benefit!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

And then, one day, during his sophomore year, he stopped going to school. He began to grapple with mental illness.

Another sad ending to yet another preventable tragedy.
Mom finds son in pauper's grave
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — In a graveyard filled with those who died with no money and sometimes no family, he died with even less.
His gravestone simply read, "John (19) Doe."
He was the 19th unidentified man buried in the Bordeaux Cemetery. He lies in plot #555, a grave overlooking the Whites Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. And around him lie 1,001 others who died penniless and, in some cases, unmourned.
"No telling how many stories are in those graves," said Sylvia Nolan, a lifelong Nashville resident.
One of them, she just found out in March, is her son. His story spans 15 years of heartache, loss and mystery — one in which the answers lay just 3 miles away from her home in an anonymous grave.
Today, thanks to DNA testing, we know his name was LeRyan Nicholson.
"I've been looking for him and I don't know. Honest to God, I didn't know. I just prayed. One night I just prayed, it was his birthday ... last year. And I said, 'Lord give me closure because I'm so tired of pain,' " Nolan said. "But I didn't want this kind of closure."
On Oct. 5, 1979, Nolan gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She named him LeRyan. LeRyan Nicholson.
"It was wonderful. It was the best day of my life," she said. The memory of his birth mad her laugh. "He came right out. He was ready to come home."
As LeRyan got older, he became a fierce protector of his little sister, Ameera El, and his stepsister, Candace Williams. He was quiet but sweet.
In high school, he came out of his shell. There, he found sports.
"He was a great runner," said Billy Fellman, principal at The Academy at Hickory Hollow and a teacher and coach at Pearl-Cohn High School in the 1990s. "As a freshman, he won the city championship in the mile and half-mile, top five in the district and region as a freshman. He was just a natural talent."
And then, one day, during his sophomore year, he stopped going to school. He began to grapple with mental illness.
"It was like he was confused as he was talking. It didn't make a lot of sense. Jumping from one thing to another, not completing a thought," Williams said.
Nolan tried to get him help, taking him to Vanderbilt. He went on medication. He picked up smoking. His hair started to turn gray, even though he was only 18.
LeRyan continued bouncing from relative to relative until the spring of 1998. In April of that year, he left home and didn't come back.
Nolan filed a missing persons report on April 12, 1998, but police were not optimistic.
The next day, an unidentified man was found at the dead end of Mary Street, right next to the Mt. Bethel Baptist Church Christian Center. The body had been rolled up in a carpet, dumped against a fence and set on fire. It was burned beyond recognition.
Sgt. Gary Kemper, who now heads Metro's Cold Case Unit, said detectives worked feverishly. They developed persons of interest, even went out of state to conduct interviews.
But the case went cold in 2001. They never identified "John (19) Doe."
They never put two and two together when LeRyan Nicholson went missing April 12, 1998, only to have the burned body of a young man matching his description show up the very next day.
"They just didn't follow up correctly. A mistake was made," Kemper said. "When you look at it now, it's hard to understand why."
Meanwhile, LeRyan's mother was looking everywhere for her son.
"I looked at the homeless shelter. I looked at and called hospitals. I looked everywhere for my baby, my son," Nolan said. "The years went on. I would look at some of the people on the road, to kind of picture him as he aged, to see, is that my son? You know, almost causing wrecks, looking."
In 2012, on what would have been LeRyan's 33rd birthday, Williams stumbled upon a government website called NAMUS. The site contains nationwide databases for missing persons, unidentified remains and unclaimed bodies.
Williams searched around the time LeRyan went missing. She got an immediate hit, that of a young man whose burned remains were found at the end of Mary Street.
Williams called Metro police, who obtained Nolan's DNA and compared it to a sample taken in 1998 when John Doe's autopsy was performed. And then, one March day in 2013, Nolan got an answer after 15 years of waiting. It wasn't what she wanted to hear. But it was an answer.
"They told me they already buried my baby, my son, without me," Nolan said. "They said, 'We can put a name to him now.' "
In May, a new headstone reading "LeRyan Nathaniel Nicholson, 1979 - 1998" was placed at the gravesite.
Putting a name to him also breathes new life into the murder case, said Metro police detective Danny Satterfield, who is taking the lead.
"In working a homicide, there's nothing we can do for that victim," Satterfield said. "But what we can do for that family is find out what happened and who's responsible. And we don't give up."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The criminalization of mental illness is nothing less than a national disgrace.


Fewer than half the U.S. population lives in communities where the most basic methods of diverting people with severe mental illness from the criminal justice system are being used, according to a new study by the Treatment Advocacy Center.
diversion_mapA full one-third of the nation’s states get a D or F grade for using mental health courts and crisis intervention teams (CIT) – diversion programs proven to reduce the criminalization of mental illness, the study found. 
“People with untreated psychiatric disease should be getting the treatment they need before law enforcement shows up at their door because of behaviors caused by their illness,” said Doris A. Fuller, executive director.
Assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) is a proven best practice to keep high-risk individuals from encountering police in the first place. Until more jurisdictions start actively using AOT to reduce criminal justice involvement, mental health courts and CIT are the best available options to reduce the criminalization of mental illness. The failure to use these basic tactics is a disservice to both the individuals who would benefit and to their communities.”   
Mental health courts divert qualifying non-violent criminal defendants from jail into community-based mental health treatment. Crisis intervention teams consist of specially trained officers who respond to service calls involving mental illness. Both programs have consistently been found to reduce the arrest and incarceration of individuals with severe mental illness.
Nationwide, less than 40% of the U.S. population lives in jurisdictions with mental health courts, and only 49% lives where police departments are using CIT, according to “Prevalence of Mental Health Diversion Practices: A Survey of the States.”
At the top of the class, Utah and Arizona were the only states serving at least 75% of their populations with both mental health courts and CIT. At the bottom, receiving Fs, were 10 states where less than 20% of the population has access to these diversionary practices.
SEE WHERE YOUR STATE RANKSRead “Prevalence of Mental Health Diversion Practices: A Survey of States” on our website.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mentally Ill People Often Live in Disadvantaged Areas

Mark Moran

Structural inadequacy—a measure of the number of vacant or demolished buildings and gas-service shutoffs—was the variable accounting for the greatest disparity in neighborhoods.
Photo of side of rundown brick building
The neighborhood environment in which people with severe mental illness live may be a factor in whether they are able to integrate into the community successfully. But a study analyzing neighborhood geography in Philadelphia published in the August Psychiatric Services showed that neighborhoods with a large concentration of adults with serious mental illness had higher levels of physical and structural inadequacy, drug-related activity, and crime than comparison neighborhoods.

Treatment-Law Evaluation Shows That Investment Pays Off / Psychiatric News of the American Psychiatric Association

An exhaustive research project shows that mandated outpatient mental health treatment is effective and can cut costs to the state providing it.
A program of court-mandated assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) in New York appears to reduce the costs allocated for mental health services, according to a study posted online inAJP in Advance July 30.
Photo of Jeffery Swanson, Ph.D.
Jeffery Swanson, Ph.D.
The reduction in costs reflected fewer repeated episodes of expensive inpatient psychiatric treatment as patients instead received outpatient care and appropriate medications, said Jeffery Swanson, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University, and colleagues.
“Cost is important,” said Swanson in an interview with Psychiatric News. “Even if people conclude that there is some benefit to outpatient treatment, it doesn’t seal the deal if it’s too costly.”