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August 17, 2020, Bradenton, Fla. — Centerstone has launched new programs to benefit those in Lee County with severe mental illness with funding through two recent awards from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Central Florida Behavioral Health Network (CFBHN). SAMHSA’s four-year $1 million grant is for the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program. Centerstone also received a one year, $216K contract with CFBHN to provide services for Lee County’s Mental Health Court (MHC).
“We are honored to have been selected to provide these treatment programs to the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Melissa Larkin-Skinner, Regional CEO Centerstone. “These services offer better opportunities for participants and their loved ones.”
AOT is a recognized evidence based practice that facilitates the delivery of outpatient mental health treatment for individuals with severe mental illness. AOT allows the court system to order individuals to participate in outpatient treatment and prevent unnecessary long-term hospitalization. The criteria to place someone in assisted outpatient treatment is easier to meet than the standard required for inpatient commitment.
MHC is a collaborative court that provides specific services and treatment to defendants with mental illness. An alternative to the traditional court system, MHC emphasizes a problem-solving model and connects defendants to a variety of rehabilitative services and support networks. With community mental health resources dwindling, the courts were seeing more people with untreated serious mental illness. Florida’s jails and prisons are not designed, equipped, or funded to deal with serious mental illness, which is why the mental health court model was created. MHC models decriminalize mental illness and improve the opportunities for defendants to lead the lives they desire.
Centerstone began providing AOT and MHC services on August 1, 2020. In addition, Centerstone also started collaborating with the Lee County Veterans Treatment Court program to provide case management support to veterans who are repeat offenders in need of mental health treatment services.
Centerstone currently provides services in Lee, Glades and Hendry Counties through its Florida Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) and Community Action Treatment (CAT) teams. FACT, a 24/7 multidisciplinary team approach to care, provides community-based treatment to individuals who have been diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness. CAT works with families with youths and young adults who are at-risk of out-of-home placement due to a mental health or co-occurring disorder for whom traditional services have not been adequate.
About Centerstone.
Centerstone is a not-for-profit health system providing mental health and substance use disorder treatments. Services are available nationally through the operation of outpatient clinics, residential programs, the use of telehealth and an inpatient hospital. Centerstone also features specialized programs for the military community, therapeutic foster care, children’s services and employee assistance programs. Centerstone’s Research Institute provides guidance through research and technology, levering the best practices for use in all our communities. Centerstone’s Foundation secures philanthropic resources to support the work and mission of delivering care that changes people’s lives.

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