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Johnson County to announce national designation for efforts in mental health, criminal justice

What:

Johnson County Government leaders will announce a new national designation for ongoing efforts to reduce the number of individuals with mental health issues in jails.

County officials will announce being selected as one of seven counties in the nation as a Stepping Up Innovator County for its expertise in collecting data on people who have mental illness in jail. As an Innovator County, Johnson County’s data collection efforts will be highlighted as part of a new national push to help counties consistently identify and collect data on vulnerable populations.

Since Johnson County was chosen as one of the first four Stepping Up initiative sites in the nation in 2015, the county has expanded the co-responder program to include seven mental health co-responders in six police departments and MED-ACT; implemented a brief mental health screen at jail; enhanced the partnership between the Mental Health Center and the Department of Corrections; started the first and only veterans treatment court in Kansas; grew outreach efforts to the community; and enhanced data-sharing efforts through My Resource Connection.

Stepping Up was launched in May 2015 by The Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. Since that time, more than 425 counties — including Johnson County — in 43 states, representing 40 percent of the U.S. population, have committed to creating systems and sustainable plans to reduce the number of people with mental illness in their jails.

Who:

County Chairman Ed Eilert, Sheriff Cal Hayden, Acting Deputy County Manager Maury Thompson, Mental Health Center Director Tim DeWeese, Criminal Justice Coordinator Alex Holsinger

Where:

Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park

When: 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 16