There are over one hundred and fifty mental health courts in the United States at this time. This is a huge increase in the past nine years as in 2000 there were only between twenty five and thirty five mental health courts in the country. One of the reasons for the tremendous amount of growth in this area is that there are a lot of benefits to clients who have either mental disabilities or mental health issues to be involved in a court structure and system that is tailored to them. Mental health courts strive to meet the needs of mental health patients and their battles through the court system.
There are many things that have to be in order to have a mental health court including collaboration of professionals in both mental health and criminal justice fields, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges that specialize in dealing with those who are suffering from mental health issues or diminished mental capacity. These courts have many purposes and are very helpful to the clients that they serve including working to have a collaboration of services, a decrease in the amount of time that is spent in the court system and a way to help those served learn the necessary life skills to be successful.
Mental health courts primary concern is to help those who are involved in the judicial system and have either a mental illness or a diminished mental capacity or both. These courts help these clients get into a system of collaboration with mental health service providers and require that the service providers in turn are held accountable for the treatment and follow up with these clients. This system could not work without some of the responsibility for the services to be placed on the mental health providers as their services sometimes require a lot of skills to have the client become fully and properly engaged in treatment.
These types of courts are only offered to those who have not committed any violent crime. The benefit to the client is a reduced sentence. These mental health courts have the overall goal of having the clients receive services in order to have a lesser chance of returning to the court systems. The mental health courts have a goal of not having the clients in continuous court services and the actual percentage of those who are repeatedly in court from these circumstances is significantly lower than those who are mentally ill or diminished and not getting there court trials through mental health courts.
Statistics have proven that mental health courts help the clients to have a better chance of not committing any further crime than traditional courts. Rehabilitations and reforms are more likely to happen in mental health courts as the clients are getting the necessary help for them to improve their lives and to be able to manage their illnesses and symptoms on their own. The courts also help by providing lesser sentencing and reduction of sentencing.
They also really work hard to achieve the goals of reform for these clients and reform in a way that jail or prison does not have the overall same affect or work as well. Not only do mental health courts work well with the rehabilitation of the clients but they also assist the clients in getting services to learn the necessary life skills. Mental health courts set clients up with services that help them with being able to learn necessary life skills.
Some of the skills that mental health centers are required to work on are traditional ADL’s (assisted dialing living skills) which include learning how to clean, cook, balance a checkbook, care for oneself, and do laundry. They also work with the clients to learn about proper community resources that are available to help during their rehabilitation. The services involved can include inpatient hospitalization, residential services, outpatient services or intensive outpatient services.
They also work to help the client with finding housing and employment through housing and employment services and assist in setting up financial and other community benefits. These services include not only office based settings but community settings as well. They include dealing with issues that are necessary through counseling and therapy as well as necessary medications. Some of the community based services include linkage to appointments, assistance with filing paperwork as well as filling out paperwork, assistance with reminders and help with other medical problems and linkage to treatment for them as well.
Some of the help with these clients has been through group settings as well. Mandated reporting helps with these issues as the client knows that the courts are going to be having follow up to their treatment and they know that they will have to go to jail or face worse sentencing if they do not follow through. Mental health centers providing treatment with mental health courts provide an array of services that benefit their clients.