COMAL COUNTY, Texas – As Comal County continues to grow, it is trying to keep up with the community’s mental health needs and offering a new program. Commissioners recently approved the first mental health court to provide help and resources to people who have a mental illness.
“I think this is going to be a major step for our community and addressing a very real need,” said Deborah Wigington, judge of County Court at Law #3.
The new mental health court will track adults charged with a misdemeanor and diagnosed with mental illness.
“Our criminal track will have five phases that our participants will work through to divert them out of the criminal justice system,” Wigington said.
The county will also track civil cases.
“We’ll be able to enter them into our court system and track their cases, make sure they’re following up with their mental health professionals, making sure they’re on their medications, and providing any resources that they need,” Wigington said.
The program aims to reduce the recidivism rate, reduce drug use and improve the quality of life for people with mental illness.
The county will be hiring a mental health court coordinator and a mental health prosecutor for this program.
Officials say they want to partner with different agencies that provide mental health treatment.
“I think what it will do for us is to enhance our services and allow us to have a more consistent presence in the people’s lives that we serve,” said Jennifer Nieto, center director for Comal County Mental Health.
ALSO ON KSAT.COM