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Teaming with SAMHSA on Assisted Outpatient Treatment

(June 12, 2017) The Treatment Advocacy Center is in the midst of a game-changing collaboration with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to implement assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) with local mental health systems across the United States. In recent weeks, intensive two-day training conferences have taken place in Las Vegas (May 18-19) and Rockville, Maryland (June 1-2), with a third coming soon to Detroit (June 28-29). SAMHSA is sponsoring and facilitating the trainings, with content developed and presented by Treatment Advocacy Center staff and our nationwide network of successful AOT practitioners. At the trainings, attendees teams from 12 states (made up of judges, psychiatrists, mental health officials, and grassroots advocates) have learned from representatives of some of the best AOT programs around, including Summit County, Ohio; Essex County, New Jersey; and Bexar County, Texas. Participants heard about best practices from these leaders, learned the importance of the “black robe effect” and exchanged ideas on how to set up or make their own AOT programs even stronger. Many participants agreed the most valuable part of the training was hearing the inspiring perspectives of individuals who have participated in AOT as recipients or as family members. These trainings are just the starting point. With interested leaders, we are bringing AOT to life in communities across the nation. The goal is clear: AOT must become a “tool in the toolkit” of every public mental health system in America. (Photos: top, LaTricia Coffey, MD, psychiatrist, and Judge Oscar Kazen in Las Vegas; and bottom, in Rockville, center: Janet Hays, founder of Healing Minds NOLA, with her service animal Jack; right: Cynthia Kemp, Community Support Programs Branch chief, SAMHSA; others: Brian Stettin, John Snook and Lisa Dailey of the Treatment Advocacy Center.)

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