Stepping up for change County tackles mental illness in community, jail

SUN photos/Marshall Dunham More than 30 people from various Archuleta County agencies participate in a workshop for the development of strategies to effectively identify and respond to the needs of justice-involved adults with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. The goal is to improve the collaborative efforts by all agencies that deal with mental illness and/or co-occurring substance abuse issues in order to keep this population out of jail and in treatment.

SUN photos/Marshall Dunham
More than 30 people from various Archuleta County agencies participate in a workshop for the development of strategies to effectively identify and respond to the needs of justice-involved adults with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders. The goal is to improve the collaborative efforts by all agencies that deal with mental illness and/or co-occurring substance abuse issues in order to keep this population out of jail and in treatment.

By Davilyn Valdez
Special to The SUN

This week, Archuleta County agencies participated in a one-and-a-half day workshop for the development of integrated strategies to effectively identify and respond to the needs of justice-involved adults with co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.

Workshop facilitators included Judge Martin Gonzales from Alamosa, Cindy Schultz with San Juan Basin Health Department, Archuleta County Sheriff Richard Valdez and Davilyn Valdez.

Sequential Intercept Mapping and Taking Action for Change, developed by Policy Research Associates in Delmar, N.Y., are two workshops designed to help communities identify existing community resources, service gaps and opportunities for improved service coordination and communication between mental health, substance abuse and criminal justice professionals.

According to Henry J. Steadman of Policy Research Associates, “This workshop is a strategic-planning session intended to foster systemic change and provide each participating community with the tools necessary to move forward to enhance services for adults with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders in contact with the justice system.”

Key agency administrators, staff and consumer advocates from the mental health, substance abuse, veterans services, employment, transportation, housing and criminal justice system in Archuleta County participated in Sequential Intercept Mapping and Taking Action for Change which focus strategic planning efforts on cross-systems collaboration and the reduction of system and service barriers with an integrated, local action plan.

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This story was posted on January 14, 2016.