Counties are facing an acute escalation of the mental and behavioral health crisis. In a recent NACo survey, 75 percent of counties reported an increase in the incidence of behavioral health conditions over the past year and 89 percent reported an increase compared to five years ago. While counties work to respond, the financial and human cost of behavioral health is compounding across all county systems: 80 percent of counties indicated that they incurred associated costs in the legal system (courts and jails), 77 percent in law enforcement and 54 percent in the health system and hospitals.

Counties are integral to the local behavioral health system of care, investing $163 billion each year in community health, hospitals and social services, as well as $107 billion in justice and public safety systems. In at least 33 states, counties may provide traditional behavioral health services, but county leaders in every state are confronting the need to innovate when it comes to mental health, whether in county courts, jails, juvenile justice systems, hospitals, parks, libraries, housing and homelessness services or other service areas – especially other services to youth.

Despite the severity of the crisis and its strain on our resources, counties across the nation are: (1) Persevering in expanding direct or indirect behavioral health service systems to care for our residents, and (2) Advocating for federal and intergovernmental policies that support our goal of serving residents and addressing the mental and behavioral health crisis.

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Upcoming Events


How to Put Out the Fire In Child Care Provider Burnout

The webinar will also explore how new initiatives like those led by Wonderschool ultimately contribute to economic development, educational opportunity, and community infrastructure.


Transitions of Care in Mental Health

In this presentation, we will: define a successful transition of care for adults with schizophrenia, review barriers to a successful transition, highlight specific examples of successful transitional care programs, explore how a multidisciplinary/collaborative approach can support successful transitions, and identify actionable strategies for potential implementation.


Building a Behavioral Health Continuum of Care: The Role of Rural Leaders and Behavioral Health Directors

This webinar is hosted by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in partnership with the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Development Disability Directors (NACBHDD).