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New funding to enhance Carroll County Mental Health Advocates Program to expand Early Diversion Program for individuals with Serious Mental Illness and/or Co-Occurring Disorders

(Tuesday, April 14, 2020 CARROLL COUNTY,GA)   Chairman, Carroll County Board of Commissioners, Michelle Morgan, is pleased to announce that Carroll County in partnership with Carroll County Mental Health Advocates has been awarded funding from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration under the Department of Health and Human Services.  The initial award amount of $281,148 for year one, will be used to set up program procedures and will begin providing services as soon as possible. The project will receive a total of $1.5 million over the next five years.  The funding will enhance an already existing, Mental Health Pre-Trial Diversion Program facilitated by the Carroll County Mental Health Advocates Program currently operating under Carroll County Probate Court.  The new funding will expand programs and services that divert adults with a serious mental illness (SMI) or a co-occurring disorder (COD) from the criminal justice system to community-based services prior to arrest and booking.

The grant funds will be used to support the following direct services:  convene an interagency, Law Enforcement and Behavioral Health Partnership” group with the intention of designing, implementing, and overseeing a plan of comprehension strategies to divert individuals with SMI or COD from arrest to community-based services; develop and implement a comprehensive plan of evidence-based practices, strategies, and services using a multi-agency approach that addresses the following three stages of early diversion for clients with SMI or COD prior to arrest or booking: Encounter, Enable, and Engage; as well as integrate the early diversion program into Carroll County’s existing system of care.

“We are so excited to be able to continue our relationship between Carroll County and the Carroll County Mental Health Advocates Program through this project.  It is our goal to not only get those “high risk” individuals in our community into treatment and provide valuable services, but to save local tax payer dollars.  Currently, there are approximately 438 inmates in the Carroll County jail, approximately 26% are on some type of mental health medication (as provided by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Anna Garmon- February 2020).  It costs $47.91 to house and feed, one inmate for one day in our county.  If an inmate has been identified as having a SMI or COD, the cost is automatically 35% more, at a rate of $64.68 per inmate, per day.  This could be a huge cost saving for our jail and judicial system. We are hopeful that we can work with our community partners and other agencies to identify those citizens who are at “high risk” and get them into treatment and services before they become a part of the criminal justice system.  It is a win-win situation for everyone!” according to Carroll County Mental Health Advocates Program Director, Jodie Goodman.

For more information regarding the Carroll County Mental Health Advocates Program and the services that it provides, contact Jodie Goodman 678-858-4653 or email at cmhadvocacy@gmail.com.

(This article was released by Carroll County Government)

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