The Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) program is contracted by Broward Behavioral Health Coalition to provide linkage, support, and advocacy to clients who have mental health or co-occurring disorders and are involved in the felony court system in Broward County.  This involves being present in the felony mental health courts, visiting clients in the six state mental hospitals, providing linkage to case management agencies for all defendants who are found Incompetent to Proceed (ITP) to trial due to mental illness, and conducting training designed to restore these individuals to competency so they can proceed through the judicial process.

The SAMH Clinician is responsible for processing all referrals of clients who are found ITP in the Felony courts.  First, the referrals are reviewed for completeness. Next, a clinical determination is made of the client’s suitability for services, based on their mental health and/or substance use disorders, general intellectual ability to comprehend competency restoration material and specific competency deficits.  Clients are then linked with appropriate community agency for case management and medication services, as well as to enrollment in competency restoration services at BRHPC.

The SAMH team provides competency restoration training (CRT) to over 450 clients who have been found Incompetent to Proceed.  This training is provided at the BRHPC office and in the community at residential programs including House of Hope, Stepping Stones, Spectrum, Order My Steps and New Beginnings.  We also provide training at the case management agencies and day treatment programs.  Trainers provide individual training to incarcerated clients in the Main Jail, North Broward Bureau, Conte and Paul Rein.  The competency curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of clients who have special needs as well as clients who are only in need of a fast track review of the legal process.  Training is provided 5 days a week.  There are also two evening sessions for clients who are in school or working and cannot attend training between 9:00am and 4:30pm.

Hospital Liaisons coordinate care for Broward County clients in South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center and South Florida State Hospital located in Miami-Dade County, Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center located in Martin County, North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center in Gainesville, Northeast Florida State Hospital in MacClenny near Jacksonville and Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee in the Florida panhandle.

SAMH Court Liaisons attend felony mental health court sessions four days a week.  They are located in the courtrooms of Judge Mark Speiser and Judge Ari Porth.  They also attend the two weekly hearing sessions conducted by General Magistrate Phillip Schlissel.  They are also available to assist in all other felony courtrooms where ITP clients’ cases are heard.

The SAMH team also includes Certified Peer Specialists who provide advocacy and support to all our clients.  In an effort to train more Peer Specialists, the BRHPC Training Institute, a certified licensed training provider with the Florida Certification Board for Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU) and offers training to promote the Florida Certification Board’s new professions, “Substance Abuse Peer Specialist” or “Recovery Support Specialist”, and “Adult Mental Health Recovery Peer Specialist.” The Institute’s mission is to assist consumers and family members through recovery and resiliency, while promoting employment for individuals and families with substance abuse recovery and mental health needs. The main objective is to assist consumers to obtain Certification and secure employment in mental health and substance abuse recovery settings.