Counties play a critical role in supporting community members living with behavioral health conditions or experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Annually, counties allocate $100 billion to community health systems – including behavioral health – and provide services through 750 behavioral health authorities and community providers. This funding supports prevention, treatment and recovery services as well as the elements of a continuum of care – someone to contact, someone to respond and somewhere safe to go – when people are experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
County leaders have been successful investing in and supporting a behavioral health continuum of care through communicating that provision of necessary services improves community mental health, saves taxpayer money, allows law enforcement to focus efforts on public safety responsibilities, reduces the overuse and misuse of the criminal legal system and decreases the reliance on emergency rooms.
NACo and NACBHDD are collaborating on a series of messaging briefs that will provide examples of how local leaders are leveraging their unique roles to advance behavioral health care and effectively communicate the importance of these efforts. The briefs will provide members of these groups’ insight into the work of peers. For community members, staff and advocates, they offer a framework for understanding and engaging with their own local leaders. The followingStakeholders will be highlighted in this series:
- County elected officials
- Law enforcement
- Behavioral health directors
- Rural and frontier county leaders
- Intellectual and developmental disability directors, and Judges.