Crisis Diversion

Health Improvement Strategy

"Crisis Diversion"



to identify what resources exist within our community to address individuals who are unnecessarily involved in the criminal justice system due to their behavioral health disorder.

Strategy Description:

Many individuals with behavioral health disorders find themselves involved in the criminal justice due to barriers to adequate treatment and support. The goal of this project is to identify what resources exist within our community to address individuals who are unnecessarily involved in the criminal justice system due to their behavioral health disorder.  Through a mapping process, we will identify current gaps in service and develop a community plan to improve outcomes.   The Sequential Intercept Model will be utilized to organize behavioral health services to better meet the needs of individuals with behavioral health disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system.  Through this process, we will identify where crisis diversion activities can be developed or enhanced to meet treatment needs and assist with reentry from the justice system or inpatient setting back into the community.  We will include a team of stakeholders in this process that includes community experts in mental health, substance use, law enforcement, criminal justice, housing, health, social services, and individuals directly impacted by mental health disorders in Flathead County.

Level of Change:


Primary Focus Area:

Behavioral Health

Data Category Tag:

Mental Health & Substance Use

Estimated Implementation Date:


Estimated Completion Date:


Estimated Ease of Implementation:

Very Hard

Estimated Cost of Implementation:


Potential Community Benefit:

Very High


We seek to address behavioral health disorders which are among the most common causes of disability. The disease burden of behavioral health disorders is among the highest of all diseases. Neuropsychiatric disorders are the leading cause of disability in the United States and account for 18.7% of all years of life lost to disability and premature mortality (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion).  According to Healthy People 2020, as many as 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 children in the United States has a behavioral health disorder. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicates that the second leading cause of death among Montana’s 10 to 44-year-old age group is suicide.  It is the eighth leading cause of death for the state overall. The lack of attention and adequate care for individuals experiencing behavioral health problems leads to high psychosocial and economic costs, not only for the individuals living with the health disorders, but also for their families, schools, workplaces, and communities. Fifty percent of all incarcerated people have behavioral health disorders, 60% have substance use disorders and 33% have both (SAMSHA). By focusing on the underlying issues of mental health problem, we can decrease the associated medical and social complications and involvement with the justice system. The importance in addressing the underlying problems of behavioral health disorders cannot be more urgent. The gaps in our system are preventing individuals from receiving adequate care. These gaps range from inadequate access to health care to social and economic instability. Individuals dealing with behavioral health issues often face discrimination from the community as they struggle with education or keeping stable employment. Consequently, they face economic instability and cannot afford to pay for medication, healthy food or quality housing. In addition, the individuals tend to reside in neighborhoods with higher poverty, crime and violence rates, thus making their situation even more challenging.


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