Letter to the editor: County model

To the editor:

Last month I had the honor to represent Douglas County with the sheriff’s office and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center at a best-practices conference held by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Douglas County was nominated as a best-practice site for screening and assessment in jail.

As a best-practice site we were asked to present about our partnership between the University of Kansas, the sheriff’s office and Bert Nash and specifically to highlight the AID program, which has allowed inmates in our jail to receive mental health services not just in the corrections facility but also as they reintegrate into our community upon their release.

Out of the 13 counties that participated, nine requested technical assistance from Douglas County to learn more about our challenges, our successes and, yes, our failures, as they develop their own programs.

As chair of the Douglas County Commission, I am so proud that we not only have been recognized as a national leader but also that we can share our experiences with others across the country. It is only through this collaborative spirit that we will best serve all individuals facing behavioral health issues.