The Intersection of Justice & Mental Health

March 23, 2023

For years, Wyandot BHN has closely partnered with law enforcement and the local judicial system to ensure that individuals involved in the justice system have access to quality behavioral health services. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that 44 percent of those in jail and 37 percent of those in prison have a mental illness. Those numbers are even higher for individuals experiencing substance use disorders. And incarceration can make existing mental health or substance use challenges even worse.

This is why it is vital that the mental health and justice systems work together.

Our justice-involved teams collaborate extensively with local law enforcement and the judicial system to provide education and training on trauma-informed approaches. From our Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) co-responders with the Kansas City Kansas Police Department to our collaboration with Judges Kate Lynch and Michael Russell to our reentry and support services offered to both juvenile and adult offenders, we work to bridge the gap that exists between mental health providers and other entities that work with individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system and have behavioral health needs.

Christine Swenson, our Senior Vice President for Clinical Services, sums up the impact of these services best.

“Seeing all of us come together as partners to gain a better understanding of what these individuals need and implement new approaches has been one of the most satisfying things that I have seen.  And from it, clients are more willing to follow the court/legal requirements as they see the value in doing so and believe all involved are on a team to help them."

When the mental health and justice systems work together, we help to create better outcomes for not only our clients, but for the community as a whole.