TDMHSAS Awards Volunteer Behavioral Health In Hamilton County $350,000

Friday, August 25, 2017
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has announced the recipients of the Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Grants. 
 
“The research indicates people with mental illnesses tend to stay in jail longer and when released, face a higher recidivism rate,” said TDMHSAS Commissioner Marie Williams. “Through pre-arrest diversion strategies, local communities can help people stay out of jail by offering mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
The investment made by the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly will ensure more Tennesseans have access to treatment, will help alleviate jail overcrowding, and will reduce costs for local communities. This is a very positive thing all around.”
 
TDMHSAS was provided $15 million in non-recurring funds for state fiscal year 2017-2018 to administer the Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Project. These funds will supplement locally leveraged funds to create behavioral health jail diversion programs for those struggling with behavioral health needs. Diversion programs such as these are an effective way to care for people in the best possible manner while saving both state and local resources.
 
“We are very excited to partner with Volunteer Behavioral Health in supporting their pre-arrest diversion efforts,” said Comm. Williams. “We know that individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders, or both who commit low level offenses can best be supported in treatment programs in the community rather than in jail. This project will go a long way in diverting those affected by behavioral health issues to where they are most likely to have long-term success.”
 
Volunteer Behavioral Health plans to collaborate with key community partners including:
•        Johnson Mental Health Center
•        Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department
•        Chattanooga Police Department
 
"The primary goal of the TDMHSAS Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Project is to reduce or eliminate the time individuals with mental illness, substance use, or co-occurring disorder spend incarcerated by redirecting them from the criminal justice system to community-based treatment and supports. Through enhanced collaboration among local behavioral health providers, law enforcement, and the judicial system, the Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Project aims to transform the way behavioral health services are delivered to individuals with low-level offenses who have behavioral health needs. 
 
The Pre-Arrest Diversion Infrastructure Project aims to support local communities in infrastructure development that will support efforts to (1) divert individuals with behavioral health needs away from jail and to appropriate community-based treatment, (2) enhance public safety by implementing effective strategies local communities can use regarding serving those in psychiatric crisis, (3) alleviate jail overcrowding, and (4) reduce costs related to prosecution and incarceration," officials said.
 



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