How to Foster Positive Mental Health Support For Employees, by Jeanne Comeau, President & CEO, NAMI Northern Virginia, August 10, 2015
Fairfax Co. Aims to Reform Treatment of Mentally Ill Defendants, by Jackie Benson, NBC4, August 3, 2015
Fairfax County officials are working to avoid sending mentally ill people through what they call a revolving door of arrest and incarceration. "Where we identify a deficiency, where we identify something that's not right, we don't try to sweep it under the rug," County Board Chair Sharon Bulova
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A group of about 50 community and Fairfax County government leaders has launched an effort, called Diversion First, with the goal of reducing the number of people with mental illness in local jails by diverting non-violent offenders experiencing mental health crises to treatment instead of incarceration.
The inaugural meeting of the Diversion First group included four judges, top officials from throughout the Fairfax County government, mental health leaders, local law enforcement agencies, local political leaders, mental health advocacy groups, and community members whose families have experienced the consequences of incarceration as well as its alternative – diversion to appropriate mental health treatment.
"The county took a major step forward Monday night," says Gary Ambrose, Inaugural Chair of the Diversion First initiative and Chairman of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB). "This effort will change the way law enforcement interacts with offenders in our community who are living with mental illness."
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Jeanne Comeau, NAMI Northern Virginia's Executive Director, is a member of the Diversion First collaborative group. Concerned Fairfax, an advocacy group of NAMI Northern Virginia, is represented by Gary Ambrose and Jeanne Comeau.
New Efforts To Help People With Mental Illness Get Treatment Instead Of Jail Time, Diane Rehm Show, August 4, 2015
Jails in the U.S. have increasingly become holding cells for people suffering from mental illness despite the fact that the vast majority pose no threat to public safety. We get an update on new efforts to keep people with mental illness out of jail and into treatment. Click here to listen.