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Friday, December 13, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane County mental health court to offer weekly resource fairs

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 17, 2019

The Spokane County Courthouse, Public Safety Building and Spokane County Jail are seen Tuesday, 12, 2018. Starting on Oct. 23, weekly mental health court resource fairs will be held in the Public Safety Building, 1100 W. Mallon Ave. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
The Spokane County Courthouse, Public Safety Building and Spokane County Jail are seen Tuesday, 12, 2018. Starting on Oct. 23, weekly mental health court resource fairs will be held in the Public Safety Building, 1100 W. Mallon Ave. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

People facing charges in Spokane Regional Mental Health Court will soon have access to an array of services at weekly “community resource fairs.”

Starting Oct. 23, the mental health court overseen by District Court Judge Aimee Maurer will host the resource fairs from 9 a.m. to noon every Wednesday on the second floor of the Public Safety Building, 1100 W. Mallon Ave.

In a news release, Maurer said the goal is “to reduce or eliminate barriers to participants’ success with their court-ordered requirements, and encourage a healthy and productive reintegration into the community.”

The mental health court takes cases for both city and county offenses. Valerie Shayman-Southerland, the court’s program manager, said it’s designed to be therapeutic and to address personal challenges that drive some defendants toward criminal behavior.

Defendants can avoid convictions if they complete one to two years of structured treatment monitored by case managers and probation officers. Defendants must plead guilty to some charges, such as driving under the influence, but they can avoid jail sentences by sticking to the program.

Shayman-Southerland said the mental health court has taken more than 900 cases in 2019.

The weekly resource fairs will include service providers from SNAP, United Healthcare and the state Department of Social and Health Services, as well as county treatment, counseling and recovery specialists.

Services will include housing assistance, screening for insurance eligibility and appointment scheduling for behavioral health care, including substance-use treatment.

Those seeking more information or wanting to participate in the resource fairs can contact Shayman-Southerland at (509) 477-2230 or vshayman@spokanecounty.org.

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