National Council for Mental Wellbeing

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April 10, 2018

Joy Burwell
(202) 748-8789

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To reduce recidivism and better serve incarcerated individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing unveils the new Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Collaborative.

“Each year, U.S. county jails serve an estimated two million people with serious mental illness. In addition, 75 percent of incarcerated individuals suffer from a substance use disorder. By behavioral health organizations fostering open and dynamic relationships with county jails, we not only have the chance to reduce overall costs to the system, but to give these individuals a real chance for long-term recovery and successful re-integration into community life,” said Tom Hill, vice president for practice improvement at the National Council.

Over the next 12 months, three selected community behavioral health organizations will work closely with county jails to provide needed behavioral health services to individuals leaving incarceration. This includes clinical screening and assessment, care planning and coordination and access to housing services as well as interventions, such as medicated-assisted treatment, trauma-informed care and cognitive behavioral therapy. Training and technical assistance will be provided by the National Council and Policy Research Associates.

“As the largest Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic in the city of Reading, Pa., many of our clients have been referred to us by the jail, so we look forward to learning new ways to increase data sharing and collaboration in efforts to produce better health outcomes for people returning to the community after incarceration,” said Rebecca Hartman of Berks Counseling Center, a participant with the current cohort.

The selected Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Collaborative participants are:

  • Chestnut Health Systems – Bloomington, Ill.
  • Human Support Services – Waterloo, Ill.
  • Berks Counseling Center – Reading, Pa.

The collaborative begins immediately following NatCon18, the National Council’s premier behavioral health conference, April 23-25, 2018, in Washington, DC, which includes a conference track focused exclusively on criminal justice.

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The National Council for Mental Wellbeing is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 2,900 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 1 million Americans have been trained. For more information, please visit