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May 2017 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
It is no surprise to social workers that U.S. prisons and jails are filled with individuals who are too poor to post bail or too ill with mental health or drug problems to adequately care for themselves.

This was verified in a 2015 report by the Vera Institute of Justice, “Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America,” reported in The New York Times. However, there are glimmers of hope in how the criminal justice system and law enforcement are working with people with mental illness. One is a growing number of programs training police to work more sensitively with individuals with mental illness, as covered in Social Work Today.

Another positive sign is the growth of mental health courts favoring treatment rather than incarceration for individuals with mental illness. And the good news about mental health courts is that a new study shows that mental health courts are supporting individuals with mental illness in their interpersonal relationships, which has long been a divisive area for this population.

Read our E-News Exclusive to learn more about how mental health courts benefit people with mental illness.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Courting Improved Relationships for People With Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System
By Sue Coyle, MSW

Individuals struggling with mental illness often feel and are isolated. The symptoms and challenges related to many mental illnesses, in addition to a limited understanding of the diagnoses, can lead to an individual and his or her support system pulling apart.

“In my opinion, mental illness can destroy relationships between individuals and their supports for various reasons,” says Jordan Levy, LCSW, a mental health therapist in Philadelphia. “It divides people; just like anything else in life—when people don’t understand it, they assume it is ‘wrong.’ If [the support system] doesn’t have experience with mental illness and has no lens to see the world through the sufferer’s eyes, there is often automatic judgment, unconscious or not.

“People with mental illness often know this,” she continues, “so they may push their supports away before their supports even have a chance to try to help, understand, or form an opinion. The stigma [of mental illness] is very real, even within one’s closest relationships.”

That separation can occur subtly, particularly if the individual does not feel comfortable sharing with his or her family and friends. “In my experience, society has taught people not to disclose their mental health struggles, and therefore, relationships, that may have been deep at one time, become more superficial,” Levy says.

Full Story »
Other News
Home-Based Recovery Program Showing Success at Lower Cost
NPR reports that a startup recovery program is going against the conventional wisdom of removing people with substance use disorders from their environment and successfully treating them at home—at a lower cost than some other recovery programs.

Lawsuit: Army’s Less-Than-Honorable Discharges Overlook PTSD, Other Conditions
According to The Boston Globe, a federal lawsuit contends the Army has issued less-than-honorable discharges for potentially thousands of service members without properly considering posttraumatic stress and other mental health conditions.

Digital Mental Health Community Grows Among Low-Income Individuals
The Los Angeles Times reports that low-income individuals who are unable to afford professional help search the internet for resources and support, a development that largely contributes to the growth of the digital mental health community.
In this e-Newsletter
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Social work professors recognize the need for technology to be a mainstay in the classroom. Read more »

Be Here Now: Easing Anxiety
With Mindfulness-Based Therapies

Social workers are using several mindfulness-based approaches to teach clients to be with their anxiety, notice it, and move toward reducing it. Read more »
Tech & Tools
FSU Autism Institute Launches Web-Based Family Ecosystem to Jump-Start Early Intervention

Waiting for children to develop on their own is one reason so many toddlers with autism go undiagnosed. A delay in treatment can result in the loss of precious months or years when interventions are able to dramatically affect outcomes.

The Autism Institute at Florida State University (FSU) has launched a new early intervention approach called the Family Ecosystem. It’s a system of care developed in partnership with Autism Navigator and the FIRST WORDS Project.

By integrating automated screening beginning at 9 months with evidence-based online courses, tools, and resources, the Family Ecosystem is designed to improve early detection of communication delays and autism, help families get a jump-start on early intervention, and facilitate their access to care for a better outcome.

Read more »
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