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Letter: Mental health courts can help our communities

Lean about mental health courts

10:57 AM, Dec. 13, 2012  |  Comments
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EDITOR: As a student in a Master's in Social Work program, I hope to increase awareness of issues that affect those who do not have the capacity to speak on their own behalf. Increasingly, our state is seeing a rise in the number of persons who are incarcerated. The percentage of people in prison who suffer from a form of mental illness has increased as well.

Currently, our state has two mental health courts: one in Eau Claire County, the other in Outagamie County. I recently attended one of the weekly hearings in Appleton, under Judge Dee Dyer. Each of the participants appeared proud of accomplishments of the previous week, which included addressing issues with housing and employment. The participants are commended for their successes. It was an honor for me to see how this particular mental health court works to address the issues the participants face. This is a much better alternative to assisting those who have a mental illness and have become a part of the judicial system. The alternative is spending time in jail or prison, where psychiatric and psychological needs may not be addressed in any timely manner.

I urge anyone who wishes to advocate on behalf of those with mental illnesses to support the implementation of a mental health court in their county. This offers hope, and a much more positive outlook for someone who might otherwise be incarcerated and not able to get necessary services.

Claire Faville,

Neenah

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