Counties play an essential role in keeping America’s communities healthy, vibrant and safe. With public and private sector partners, we pursue innovative approaches to advance public health and well-being, protect public safety and foster economic strength and resiliency.
Reducing the number of county residents with mental illnesses in our jails helps achieve all of these aims. This issue is a drain on our counties’ resources, is a burden to our law enforcement and does nothing to improve public safety or the lives of individuals with mental illnesses, their families or our communities.
That is why I am working with NACo leadership to promote my presidential initiative, the “Counties Matter Challenge: Brilliant Ideas at Work.” Through the initiative, we are working to identify and share 100 examples of visionary county leadership that results in improving residents’ quality of life.
The plan is to build an online honor roll that highlights county innovation at its best. Every day, counties anticipate and adapt to challenges by thinking outside the box and demonstrating local leadership that makes a difference in people’s lives. Though no two of America’s 3,069 counties are alike, many face similar challenges and learn from one another’s experiences.
Reducing the number of people with mental illnesses in county jails is a high priority for NACo members and their residents. I hope that some of the 100 Brilliant Ideas will highlight the creative work of counties across this country to address this problem across policy, practice and funding. This is not a new problem, but we do need new solutions. Through my presidential initiative, and in partnership with Stepping Up, we are providing counties with new ideas to create sustainable and effective solutions to a crisis plaguing our counties. We are excited to share what we’ve found. Look for these examples to be revealed at NACo’s Annual Conference in July in Franklin County, Ohio.Hero 1