Bexar County Mental Health Court holds virtual graduation ceremony

20 graduates complete demanding 12-month program

SAN ANTONIO – Though the COVID-19 Bexar County Courthouse protocol meant that the families of participants in the Bexar County Mental Health Court program were prohibited from attending graduation ceremonies, they will still get an opportunity to see the graduation.

Bexar County Court 12 Judge Yolanda Huff, who manages the specialty court, arranged to have a video of the ceremony recorded.

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The video will be posted online on Aug. 14, at which time the graduation will become official. The ceremony, complete with caps, gowns and diplomas, was recorded last week.

“When the COVID hit, I’ll admit I was very concerned about my mental health patients and how they would do,” Huff said Monday.

She said she was especially concerned for patients with specific mental health issues.

“Some of them that suffer from anxiety or depression,” Huff said. “But they did excellent. Those blossomed.”

All graduates completed the program remotely.

“They didn’t have to get in their car, drive all the way to the courthouse, pay parking and meet with me,” Huff said.

Participants in the program are people with misdemeanor cases with underlying mental issues referred to from other courts.

The referrals have been increasing since the pandemic, Huff said.

“A week hasn’t gone by that I haven’t had at least two to five new participants in the Mental Health Court,” she said.

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