The mental health task force was formed in late 2014 when the JOSHUA community realized it’s time to advocate for those who have a mental illness. Once the committee was formed, it wasn’t long before we realized there are many unfulfilled needs in our county. We attempted to educate ourselves by connecting with community leaders in the mental health field, law enforcement, support groups, physicians, therapists, and Brown County, educators and faith communities. After learning our county suffers from stigma of mental illness, we decided to educate by holding a public forum. And, after hearing from many who experienced lack of attention to their loved ones in jail suffering from a mental illness, we decided our task was to address this injustice.
Our forum, “Law Enforcement & CIT Training”, held on May 19, 2015 at the United Church of Christ in Green Bay included speakers from law enforcement, crisis intervention, support groups, judicial system, and a mental health profession. The focus was on Crisis Intervention Team and Partner training, which gives law enforcement the tools to de escalate a situation when there is a an individual in mental crisis involved. Since our involvement, Green Bay PD soared from 17 trained to 37 trained police officers. Today, we continue advocate for law enforcement to get all their officers trained.
As a result of the mental health public forum, the task force doubled in size. With new leaders around the table, a new issue emerged, there was a lack of medical coverage in the Brown County Jail causing inmates to not receive their medications to stabilize mental health conditions. JOSHUA advocated for the Sheriffs purposed budget to increase medical and psychiatrist coverage.
Through all this hard work and determination we celebrate that not only was our ask for the Brown County Jail was put in the 2016 budget, but also an additional $20,000 for our Veterans Court in Brown County, as well as a $1.15 million plan for Mental Health Gaps and detox services in Brown County!
Our work has just begun! The mentally ill of our community need our voices and support. Please consider joining our dedicated group!
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