Texas CASA attended The Judicial Summit on Mental Health in Houston presented by the Texas Children’s Commission and Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health. The Summit drew attendees from all across the state including judges, state agency staff, policymakers and several advocacy groups.
Speakers presented opportunities for systemic change and how communities can collaborate to develop diversion programs for individuals struggling with a mental illness or substance use disorder. Judge Ruben Reyes of the 72nd district in Lubbock County shared about the positive outcomes of his specialty drug court program that focuses on supporting minor drug offenders with a substance use disorder, empowering them through recovery and supporting them with treatment. The Summit’s keynote speaker, Houston Chief of Police Art Acevedo, shared his experience in responding to mental health emergencies and the importance of helping people with mental illness without punitive or criminal procedures. Other presentations included strategies to prevent youth suicide and address disproportionality within the child welfare system.