The county jail system is the largest mental health system in the state of Texas. Counties face crushing costs in providing certain constitutional minimum levels of care, including mental health services.
The state should adequately fund community mental health, crisis and transitional services that divert the mentally ill from courts, emergency rooms and jails, and ease the financial burden on local government and taxpayers.
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- Mental health and the criminal justice system are closely interrelated. Substance abuse adds even more complexity to this system.
- The criminal justice system is among the largest cost drivers in the county budget.
- Counties must provide certain constitutional minimum levels of care, including mental health care, while a person is incarcerated in a county jail.
- Counties can provide funds directly to local mental health centers and other assistive community programs when budgets allow.
- According to the Texas Council of Community Centers, counties have increased support to local mental health agencies in recent years.
- Local taxing authorities contributed about $476 million to mental health community centers. Of this amount, approximately $371 million (78 percent) came from county government.
- Funding for local mental health crisis services and mental health rehabilitation must be fully appropriated. Gaps in service must be identified and addressed to relieve the burden on the criminal justice system.
- Community diversions and other programs are where the most timely, cost-effective, beneficial, preventative and successful mental health services are delivered — and the state must fund them.
Dallas Morning News, January 8, 2021
To those who have criticized Dallas County DA John Creuzot’s courthouse strategies, you should look more carefully. Innovations within his office’s newly bulked-up mental health division speak to a leader who isn’t soft on crime — but intent on flexing new muscle in the fight.
KETK, Sept. 28, 2020
After receiving a $1.1 million in combined grant awards from East Texas Medical Center Foundation and Texas Health and Human Services, Tyler-based nonprofit Next Step Community Solutions will expand their mental health services for local students.
Galveston County The Daily News, Sept. 22, 2020
People with mental health disorders charged with misdemeanor offenses in Galveston County soon will get help from a new office meant to keep them out of jail.
San Antonio News-Express, Sept. 10, 2020
Bexar County emergency dispatchers soon might be sending a trained mental health professional and an EMT crew instead of sheriff’s deputies to 911 calls involving someone showing signs of a break with reality, after commissioners approved a $1.5 million proposal Thursday.
King5, Sept. 10, 2020
The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority is receiving more than $1.4 million, the most of any organization in the region.
Forth Worth Weekly, April 5, 2020
Millions of Americans are experiencing heightened anxiety due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and individuals with mental health conditions are particularly vulnerable under the current shelter-in-place orders. We reached out to two leading local mental healthcare groups, NAMI Tarrant and MHMR of Tarrant County, to see what mental health resources are available during this crisis.