Statistics show that one in five U.S. adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. In North Texas, suicide rates have increased by 25% since 1999. While mental health is an issue in all areas across the nation, finding help is more challenging in rural areas due to lack of resources. Kaufman County held a meeting amongst county stakeholders and organizations to detail gaps in mental health resources on Jan. 26 and 27. Taking what they have learned from the meeting, county officials are in the early stages of addressing these gaps and fixing community outreach for mental health.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HSSC) selected Kaufman County for a free seminar covering their Sequential Intercept Model (SIM). SIM details how people with Mental Illness (MI), Substance Use Disorder (SUD), and Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) encounter and move through the criminal justice system. The SIM helps communities identify resources and gaps in services at each intercept and develop local strategic action plans. The SIM mapping process brings together community leaders and different agencies and systems to identify strategies to divert people with MI, SUD, and ISS away from the justice system into treatment.

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