Mental Health, Public Safety Seminar Today

By  //  May 30, 2013

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Featured speaker will be Peter Earley

ABOVE VIDEO: Partners in Crisis at their 2012 Annual Conference. The organization unites representatives of the public and private sectors to actively promote the cost-effective use of tax dollars for treatment of persons with mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Elected officials in criminal justice and leaders of nonprofits with a stake in addressing mental illness believe it’s time to talk publicly about the issues in Brevard County.

Florida Partners in Crisis is the only Florida organization that unites representatives of the public and private sectors to actively promote the cost-effective use of tax dollars for treatment of persons with mental illnesses and substance use disorders to help create safer communities.

Florida Partners in Crisis is the only Florida organization that unites representatives of the public and private sectors to actively promote the cost-effective use of tax dollars for treatment of persons with mental illnesses and substance use disorders to help create safer communities.

They’re joining forces for “Mental and Health and Public Safety: A Community Conversation” on May 30, a daylong free forum dedicated to addressing a problem that statewide statistics document.

The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Simpkins Center at Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Road, Cocoa. Tickets are free but required through eventbrite.com. Search for “Mental health and public safety.” Continuing legal education units ($75), and continuing education units are available.

STATEWIDE STATS SAY:

• About 170,000 people with serious mental illness are arrested and booked in to Florida jails annually.
• About $365 million is spent housing people with mental illness in county jails.
• People with mental illness represent 5 percent of the total population but 17 percent of the prison population.

Peter Earley

Peter Earley

Featured speaker will be Peter Earley, a former Washington Post reporter and author of “CRAZY: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness.”

“We need this dialogue on the intersection of mental health and public safety as a step toward educating our community and dispelling the thinking that mental illness means dangerous,” said Gail Cordial, organizer of the event and executive director of Florida Partners in Crisis, a statewide organization based in Merritt Island.

Hosts and other partners in the event also expressed commitment to education and moving toward solutions.

Phil Archer

Phil Archer

• State Attorney Phil Archer, host: “It is vital to the safety and security of our community that we all work together on mental health issues. Providing training and information about court resources is an important part of addressing those issues.”

• Public Defender Blaise Trettis, host: “ According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 24 percent of state prisoners and 21 percent of local jail inmates have a recent history of mental illness.  It is in society’s best interest that we solve the problem of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system.”

Sheriff Wayne Ivey

Sheriff Wayne Ivey

• Sheriff Wayne Ivey: “Current mental health issues can impact each of us in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Today’s law enforcement officers must be completely familiar with mental health disorders to effectively recognize those who need assistance.”

• 2-1-1 Brevard Executive Director Libby Donoghue: “Every day, people who are affected by mental illness call us seeking help. This is an important opportunity for those involved in public safety, health care and the delivery of social services to better understand how we can have the most impact.”

• National Veterans Homeless Support founder George Taylor Sr.: “With so many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan – a high percentage with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, we not only need to educate the veterans but also the families and members of our justice system.  It is a hidden disorder and we need to get the veterans in a better place without them becoming a statistic.

The “Mental and Health and Public Safety: A Community Conversation” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Simpkins Center at Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Road, Cocoa.

Tickets are free but required through EventBrite.com. Search for “Mental health and public safety.” Continuing legal education units ($75), and continuing education units are available.

For information, contact Cordial at gailc@flpic.org or 321-453-8825.

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The “Mental and Health and Public Safety: A Community Conversation” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. at the Simpkins Center at Brevard Community College, 1519 Clearlake Road, Cocoa.


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