CEDAR HILL – Judge Mike Jones has seen quite a bit during his time as a Justice of the Peace.
With that in mind, he recently decided the community really did need more mental health information.
On Friday, Jones will be presenting his first Mental Health Community Seminar from 10 a.m. to noon at the Alan Sims Recreation Center in Cedar Hill.
Free and open to the community, Jones said “As the Justice of the Peace, one of my duties is to sign mental health warrants for people facing mental health crisis. The request for mental health warrants has increased in my court and there is a gap where people need longer term treatment due the warrant being a temporary option.”
The purpose of the seminar is to provide information and resources to people who have love ones facing mental illness.
Jones said “Usually people are released within 12 to 24 hours and long-term or inpatient treatment is needed. When that occurs that patient is stuck without long-term care and it goes into a cycle of the loved one not knowing where to turn.”
He said, overall family and friends need to be able to find organizations to provide longer term-care for their loved ones who are struggling with mental health issues.
This seminar will provide information to assist those seeking more information about this much needed longer term treatment and care.
“Longer term treatment can be costly, so we do have an organization to provide the services for little or no costs,” Jones said.
At the moment the JP said he believed some of the biggest challenges facing mental health care is because there are more individuals needing mental health treatment with limited resources.
“Additionally, we are needing more funding and staff in our police departments to handle mental health response calls,” he added.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel “I see police departments that are creating mental health units such as Desoto Police Department and Grand Prairie Police Department,” Jones explained. “This is a big win to ensure police are able to respond to the calls and deescalate the situations appropriately.”
As for the increase in mental health issues and COVID-19 Jones said he is not sure the two are related but he said, “I have noticed a significant spike in mental health illness during this pandemic.”
Overall, the seminar will be an information session with various organizations that provide assistance for mental health.
Jones said he will have Dallas County’s Judge Margaret Jones-Johnson on the agenda to talk about the mental health processes. Local law enforcement agencies will speak about their mental health units and how they handle response calls. Plus, there will be organizations in attendance to assist with veterans.
He does plan to host more seminars in the future.
“Mental health is a topic that we must address because it is on the rise. I think it is important that we are proactive as opposed to being reactive to address the issue. I will ensure I do my part as a community leader to help fight and provide resources to address this matter,” he said.