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Michigan expanding efforts to offer more treatment for those with mental illness, avoid courts

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LANSING, Michigan — Michigan is expanding efforts to offer more treatment options for people with mental illness and developmental disabilities who are at risk of being imprisoned.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley announced Wednesday the addition of six sites for pilot programs and plans to expand two existing efforts. Calley chairs the Mental Health Diversion Council, which is overseeing the programs with the state Department of Community Health and the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Community Health provided nearly $1.7 million for the effort and the Department of Corrections contributed nearly $1 million.

The Diversion Council in 2014 sponsored pilot programs in Marquette, St. Joseph and Kalamazoo as well as two serving the Detroit area. The Marquette and Kalamazoo programs are being expanded. Other pilot programs are planned next year in Barry County, Berry County, Detroit, the Monroe area, Kent County and Oakland County.

Calley says: "These pilot programs will help us learn which strategies are the most effective in reducing risk and providing care, serving as blueprints to be used across our state."

The programs are intended to help people prior to them becoming involved with the court system. The Mental Health Court operates separately and works with people with mental illness and developmental disabilities once they have entered the judicial system.

Department of Community Health Director Nick Lyon says the pilot programs will help "evaluate and support new methods and systems that encourage diversion in Michigan."


Online:

List of local agencies involved: http://1.usa.gov/1zReBhB

Information about Mental Health Diversion Council: http://1.usa.gov/1yCTRrQ

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