Ashtabula County Mental Health Drug Court

What is a Mental Health Drug Court?

The Mental Health Drug Court is similar to the Felony Drug Court, but the participants have been selected due to a clinically diagnosed serious mental illness. It is a voluntary 18-month treatment program with the goal of teaching offenders how to cope with their mental illness, understand the link between their mental illness and drug use, and stop negative and criminal thinking that leads to committing drug-related crimes. By holding offenders accountable and promoting addiction recovery, the mental health drug court program can help prevent reoffending and therefore increase the safety of the community. Our Mental Health Drug Court team meets weekly to discuss the progress of each participant and determine any incentives or sanctions for compliance or noncompliance.

What is a serious mental illness?

The Ashtabula County Mental Health Drug Court defines a serious mental illness (SMI) as a “mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” Serious mental illnesses include:

  • Schizophrenia spectrum disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Severe Major Depressive Disorder
  • Severe Anxiety Disorders

Common symptoms and effects of these serious mental illnesses can include:

  • Significant mood changes that impair the person’s ability to function in daily life
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Delusions (incorrect perceptions of reality)
  • Hypervigilance and paranoia
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Difficulty finding and maintaining employment due to socially inappropriate behaviors
  • Lack of personal hygiene and self-care
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships

Who qualifies to participate in the Mental Health Drug Court program?

In order to qualify for the Mental Health Drug Court program, the offender must sign a Participation Agreement outlining the program requirements and must be sentenced to community control/probation with a condition to complete the Mental Health Court successfully. Offenders can be placed into the program at the time of the original sentencing, at the time of a probation violation hearing, or through judicial release from prison incarceration.

What does Mental Health Drug Court treatment involve?

The levels of care required vary for each participant in the Mental Health Drug Court Program, ranging from residential treatment and partial hospitalization to intensive outpatient treatment and outpatient addiction recovery programs. Lake Area Recovery Center staff includes highly-trained psychologists and mental health clinicians who are trained in evidence-based therapies such as:

  • Substance use disorder (SUD) treatment
  • Integrating dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) with the Twelve Steps program
  • Relapse prevention
  • Dual diagnosis services
  • Support and case management management services
  • Individual and group counseling

We hold various behavioral counseling groups that address the complex issues surrounding substance use, criminal behavior, and mental illness:

  • Anger management - Aggression Replacement Therapy (ART) program
  • Problem-solving - Thinking for a Change (T4C) program
  • Criminal thinking - Moving in a New Direction (MIND) program
  • Managing trauma - S.A.F.E. program
  • Domestic violence - Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) program
  • Driver intervention - AWARE program

Contact Lake Area Recovery Center for more information on our addiction recovery treatment services.