Local jails are typically poorly equipped to deal with mental illness and related issues. Nonetheless, individuals with mental disorders are all too often incarcerated simply due to a lack of other options. Not only do these persons fail to receive needed and adequate treatment, but are also more likely to have various complications both when in custody and after release. At the same time, incarceration is costly for communities. In response to these concerns, programs have emerged across the country which seek to offer more appropriate options for both persons suffering from mental disorders and communities attempting to provide necessary services with scarce resources.
Mental health and substance abuse disorders are pressing challenges across the nation. While these problems can clearly take an enormous toll on individuals, they also involve sizable costs for society as a whole. For those without private insurance, problems can be particularly acute. Given funding challenges, dealing with these issues increasingly requires innovative approaches to maximize the return on investment in services. Even beyond the quality of life and other human costs, mental health disorders can be expensive in terms of treatment. With inadequate treatment, overall costs, such as comorbidities, loss of wages and productivity, incarceration, homelessness, and mortality, can notably escalate.