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RSAT Forum > Monthly Discussion > March 2022: Community Reintegration and Mental Health Treatment View modes: 
skeller - 3/10/2022 10:20:48 AM
March 2022: Community Reintegration and Mental Health Treatment

Q-We want to increase engagement with community treatment and service agencies that support reintegration and continued treatment for RSAT participants, especially for those with mental health challenges. What steps can RSAT Program staff take to accomplish this?


A-RSAT staff can increase community engagement and connections by conducting introductory outreach calls to social service and behavioral health agencies in the local community. These agencies are integral in connecting individuals to many services which can begin several months prior to reentry. Key to successful reintegration for RSAT participants is not only coordinating formal continuing care services but also ensuring a warm hand-off from facilities to providers which increases engagement in services. For example, case managers or recovery supporters who pick individuals up on the day of release and transport them directly to services will increase subsequent program participation and retention in treatment.

In addition to reaching out to community treatment and service providers, RSAT staff can invite community agency staff to visit your program and meet RSAT participants. While visiting a jail or prison is the norm for RSAT staff, it may be an adventurous learning experience for these staffs. 

You should especially target peer operated agencies, those operated by individuals in recovery with firsthand lived experience who have a vested interest in promoting recovery for those they provide services to. Many peer operated agencies have education, outreach and inclusion opportunities incorporated into their mission and in-reach to a jail or prison offers the opportunity to meet their mission. A bonus is that peer agency staff and volunteers provide role models for recovery, personal responsibility and self-advocacy which inspires hope for others and adds a prosocial support to those reentering the community.

An important resource that can improve community reintegration and relationship building are local National Alliances on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Mental Health America chapters. What is important about these agencies is that they offer services and supports to individuals and families involved in justice systems and both offer no cost education and advocacy for individuals and families experiencing behavioral health concerns. For example, NAMI Family-to-Family is an evidenced-based program offered at no cost through an eight-session educational program for family and friends of people with mental health conditions. This class educates participants on:

  • Problem solving and communicating effectively
  • Taking care of yourself and managing your stress
  • Supporting your loved one with compassion
  • Finding and using local supports and services
  • Up-to-date information on mental health conditions and how they affect the brain
  • How to handle a crisis
  • Current treatments and therapies
  • Impact of mental health conditions on the entire family

NAMI Peer-to-Peer is also an eight-session educational program for adults with mental health conditions. The course provides an opportunity to learn about recovery while receiving support. Participants will learn how to:

  • Set a vision and goals for the future
  • Partner with health care providers
  • Develop confidence for making decisions
  • Practice relaxation and stress reduction tools
  • Share your story
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Enhance communication skills
  • Learn about mental health treatment options

Although the classes are primarily mental health related, due to the high rate of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, these programs offer support and links to additional resources. Both agencies may offer in-reach, an added benefit to provide additional resources for RSAT participants return to the community. Furthermore, many local chapters have established relationships with other human resource agencies and participate in community support and planning that may offer additional support.

Mental Health America also provides annual toolkits. The toolkit for 2021, called Tools 2 Thrive, can be accessed at