Forsyth County commissioners have applied for a grant to help those with mental health issues stay out of the criminal justice system.
Commissioners approved on a time-sensitive basis to apply for the Department of Justice’s Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Grant for an amount not to exceed $200,000 with a required in-kind match not to exceed $50,000.
The grant proposal is the result of mapping study and needs that commissioners approved in early 2016.
“This is the ongoing thing we have been working on for over a year,” District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said. “We’re thinking that the $40,000 that the county invested, we’re hoping, will get us the $200,000 in this grant. So we hope this will be a really good thing and will help us in being able to treat the mentally ill.”
Mills said the study was done to find the “frequent fliers and how we handle that” and that it worked with Sheriff Ron Freeman and others to get the information.
“They have compiled a lot through 911,” she said. “Every procedure, anyone who touches anything to do with the mentally ill has been surveyed. I mean, every component, they’re now compiling that data.”
One area the money could go toward is a new county position.
“This will help to hire a coordinator for mental health and will be the first step in addressing where we go from here,” Mills said.
Commissioners also unanimously approved an item to show appreciation for the Forsyth County Mental Heal-Criminal Justice Task Force.