Mitchell: Mental health important to Denton County

As the 7th largest county in Texas with a population fast approaching 1 million within the next few years, it is important for us to use every tool we have to protect our citizens. Thank you to Judge Dave Jahn for requesting we apply for a pilot program through the Texas Judicial Commission on Health.

Though a decision has not yet been made, we hope to be accepted for the Community Division Coordinator Pilot Program, which would help us better meet the mental health needs of defendants with mental illnesses by providing a connection to diversionary resources for treatment. The program would enable us to provide quicker intervention with a greater emphasis on maintaining outpatient compliance with treatment rather than following the current system of being placed on a waitlist for inpatient competency restoration services at a state hospital.

In short, this would enable us to help individuals with a serious mental illness who have committed a non-violent crime to be diverted from the criminal process and receive assistance in a quicker manner as an outpatient rather than remaining in jail.

Since 2015, we have made significant improvement in crisis intervention measures. Denton County MHMR opened a 24-hour crisis triage facility, a 14-bed crisis residential unit and an inpatient diversion partnership with local mental health hospitals. The Denton County Sheriff’s Office has expanded the crisis intervention team and the City of Denton has created a crisis intervention unit. In addition, several local behavioral health entities have partnered with the District Attorney’s mental health prosecutor as well as the Sheriff’s Office crisis team, the Probate Court and several local law enforcement agencies to provide resource education and diversion training programs.

We believe these efforts are important and this pilot program could help us take the next step in having a coordinator assist in ensuring we provide the best available resources for those in need. Stay tuned as we learn whether Denton County will be approved for this important program.

Denton County Works Offers Job Resources

In the past year, Denton County has provided food and rental assistance to a number of individuals during a time of need and crisis. As the crisis abates, we are working with United Way of Denton County to help individuals by providing an online resource to help them find work. Known as Denton County Works, this website allows employers and those seeking work to come together. It also provides information on local job fairs, job listings in the county as well as tips on resume writing, interviewing and even how to dress for success and where to buy low-cost business attire.

The idea is to assist our residents in rebuilding their lives and to give them local resources that connect them with local possibilities.

If you are a local business looking for employees, please share your job opportunities at UnitedWayDenton.org/DentonCountyWorks. Working together, we can find solutions that will benefit everyone.

Connect With Us: Be sure and connect with Denton County on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DentonCountyTX and on Twitter @DentonCountyTX. You can also follow me at www.facebook.com/DentonCountyCommissionerBobbieMitchell

If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected] and my office number is 972-434-4780.

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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