Type of Activity: Research
Funding Mechanism: Contract with Mathematica Policy Research
Award Amount: Known. This task was part of a larger contract on identifying mental health policy issues in the context of health care reform.
Length of Project Period:one year, FY 2009 - FY 2010
Federal Partners: Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice
Summary: This is a report on the key principles communities should consider when designing strategies to reduce the inappropriate use of emergency rooms and jails by people experiencing mental health crises. It is intended to stimulate and support an on-going dialogue among professionals in the law enforcement, emergency medicine, and mental health systems about how top better serve people with mental illnesses in crisis. This report highlights unique efforts to assist law enforcement to manage mental health crises, use local mental health services more appropriately, and work with hospital staff to improve efficiency and effectiveness. An expert panel was convened to inform the development of this report which includes case studies on several communities throughout the country.
Background: The concerns about people with mental illnesses and their interactions with law enforcement and community health systems are longstanding. Previous work to develop recommendations for improving outcomes for people with mental illnesses who come into contact with the justice system have focuses on practices that should be adopted by criminal justice system staff and community mental health service providers. This report updates that work and focuses on best practices that also incorporate emergency rooms and hospital systems as key partners.