The Stepping Up Initiative

Stepping Up urges county leaders to pass a resolution and convene teams of agency decision makers and diverse stakeholders to develop a six-step action plan to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

Take action


Join the Initiative!

Sign up to receive regular updates about the initiative here. To join the initiative, your county must pass a Stepping Up resolution. A template resolution is available here. Once passed, please forward a copy of the signed resolution to

NACo Contact: Nastassia Walsh or 202-942-4289

In May 2015, NACo and partners at the CSG Justice Center and APA Foundation launched Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails and announced a Call to Action demonstrating strong county and state leadership and a shared commitment to a multi-step planning process that can achieve concrete results for jails in counties of all sizes. As part of this Call to Action, county elected officials are being asked to pass a resolution and work with other leaders (e.g., the sheriff, judges, district attorney, treatment providers, and state and local policymakers), people with mental illnesses and their advocates and other stakeholders to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

Stepping Up participants receive an online resources toolkit to assist with efforts, including monthly webinars and networking calls, quarterly small group networking calls, online tools, peer exchanges, conference workshops and a comprehensive online resource library.

Stepping Up

The National Association of Counties (NACo), the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Foundation have come together to lead a national initiative to help advance counties’ efforts to reduce the number of adults with mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders in jails. With support from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and other sponsors, the initiative will build on the many innovative and proven practices being implemented across the country.