"Addressing mental health concerns is an issue nationwide. Fairfax County recognizes the need for increased awareness, education and resources to help promote our community's overal health and well-being."
The Fairfax County Police Department, Sheriff's Office, Community Services Board, Board of Supervisors, and members of our community all agree that more needs to be done to address mental health concerns across the country and in Fairfax County. Addressing mental health can include jail diversion programs, Crisis Intervention Teams, cross-agency teams and training, emergency hotlines, and more. The Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission in Fairfax County formed a Mental Health subcommittee that is working to offer recommendations for the Police Department in the area of public safety and mental health.
Fairfax County community and government leaders have launched an effort, called Diversion First, to reduce the number of people with mental illness in local jails by diverting non-violent offenders experiencing mental health crises to treatment instead of incarceration.
At the inaugural meeting of Diversion First, local leaders announced a commitment to set up a basic jail diversion program by January 1, 2016 with the following initial components in place, to be expanded and further developed over the next 3 to 5 years:
- Ongoing Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for local law enforcement personnel;
- A therapeutic Crisis Assessment Site at the new CSB Merrifield Center, where police will be able to transfer custody of nonviolent offenders who may need mental health services to a CIT-trained officer there, instead of taking them to jail;
- A second CSB Mobile Crisis Unit to increase the county's capacity to provide emergency mental health personnel in the field;
- A Mental Health Docket in the Fairfax County Court system.