Arlington County has accepted a grant that will help expand the county’s Behavioral Health Docket program — a service that diverts people with mental illnesses into treatment rather into jail.
The program accepts people who have diagnosed mental illnesses and have been charged with misdemeanors. Last November, a requirement for those in the program to plead guilty was eliminated.
The $146,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services will primarily go to funding a full-time therapist position for two years. According to the staff report:
The position will assist program participants in developing and enhancing skills related to self-care, physical wellness, development of family and peer leisure pursuits, conflict resolution, stress management, positive peer modeling, developing a greater level of independence, improving treatment compliance, and increasing access to recreational groups and self-help groups (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous). Projected caseload for this position is 16-20 clients based on benchmarking and past experience.
“[This is] going to expand the behavioral health docket program services,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey, “something advocated for and needed for quite a while.”
The staff report says that other parts of the grant funding will go to:
- Group materials
- Emergency housing placements
- Cell phones
- Obtaining proper identification cards
- Behavioral intervention consultation
Staff photo by Jay Westcott