The Indian River County Mental Health Court held their seventh graduation on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 4 of the Indian River County Courthouse. Judge Cox facilitated the graduation along with 20 Mental Health Court graduates.
Indian River County's Mental Health Court began on January 25, 2015 and provides mentally ill defendants with the opportunity to receive community-based treatment and services through local providers while under the supervision of the Court. Mental Health Court is both a diversionary and supervisory program (as a condition of probation) that provides court supervision and social services through collaboration of state, county, and local non-profit agencies. Mental health courts generally share the following goals: to improve public safety by reducing criminal recidivism; to improve the quality of life of people with mental illnesses and increase their participation in effective treatment; and to reduce court and corrections related costs through administrative efficiencies and often by providing an alternative to incarceration. Monitoring and treating offenders with mental illness in a mental health court is a more effective, efficient, and less expensive option than the remedies available through traditional justice system approaches.
Participants of Mental Health Court must meet the minimum requirements of the program, engage in treatment and services, abstain from alcohol and other drugs, and have displayed an improved quality of life, in order to be able to graduate. In Indian River County to date, 291 clients have participated in Mental Health Court.
In addition, the Mental Health Court Team recognized law enforcement for their outstanding implementation of the CIT philosophy. Crisis Intervention Training was developed to help law enforcement recognize and respond to calls involving citizens with mental illness. CIT training promote and supports collaborative efforts to create and sustain more effective interactions among law enforcement, mental health care providers, individuals with mental illness, their families and communities and also to reduce the stigma of mental illness.