CBHJ receives funding to expand telehealth capabilities in Michigan county jails

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, jails have restricted access to facilities and attempted to slow the spread of the coronavirus by reducing jail populations. These critical public health measures have resulted in limited or restricted access to behavioral health clinicians who would typically provide services within jails and also interrupted discharge planning procedures for those released from jail who are returning to communities that are in the midst of a global pandemic. With support from the Michigan Opioid Partnership (MOP), the Wayne State University School of Social Work Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ) is helping to address this gap by implementing or expanding telehealth options in over a dozen jail facilities across the state.

The county jails, which include rural, urban, and metropolitan areas, will receive hardware, software, connectivity, and recommended practices to rapidly expand their current capacity to provide services. This is a new type of technology for Michigan jails that will assist in the expansion of behavioral health services, such as mental health and substance use disorder services in the jail; the distribution of psychiatric medication and medications to treat opioid use disorder; and discharge planning services to connect individuals to services upon their release.

The distributed hardware will allow jails to maintain remote access services for routine operations and increase telehealth capabilities to address critical service gaps during this time of crisis and beyond. Even before the pandemic began, county jail facilities often lacked the necessary resources to provide behavioral health services inside and thorough discharge planning upon release. The CBHJ will document barriers, successes, and best practices to develop a toolkit to guide implementation for pilot communities and in future counties.

About the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice: The Center for Behavioral Health and Justice and Wayne State University's School of Social Work envisions communities in which research, data, and best practices are used by multiple stakeholders to enhance the optimal well-being of individuals with mental illness and/or substance use disorders who come into contact with the criminal/legal system. Learn more

About the Michigan Opioid Partnership: The Michigan Opioid Partnership (MOP) is a public-private collaborative including the state of Michigan and key nonprofit funders, whose mission is to decrease Michigan opioid overdoses and deaths through prevention, treatment, harm reduction and sustained recovery. Learn more

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