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News and Notes   |    
News Briefs
Psychiatric Services 2010; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.61.5.538
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Justice Center guide on tailoring police response programs: Partnerships between mental health and law enforcement agencies have become increasingly common as communities strive to improve outcomes of police encounters with people who have mental illnesses. Specialized policing responses (SPRs) have many features in common, but their designs vary to meet the differing needs of the communities they serve. The Council of State Governments Justice Center has released a publication to help leaders of SPR initiatives select or adapt program features from models that will be most effective in their communities. The 52-page guide proposes a seven-step design process that takes into account such factors as jurisdiction size, demographic characteristics, the resources of the mental health and law enforcement agencies, relevant state laws, and the type of problem that leaders most want to address. To ensure that the process reflects real-world decision making, staff from the Justice Center and the Police Executive Research Forum made site visits to jurisdictions in four states with extensive experience in designing and implementing SPR programs to interview staff about decision making at their agency. Improving Responses to People With Mental Illnesses: Tailoring Law Enforcement Initiatives to Individual Jurisdictions is available at www.consensusproject.org. It is part of a series on police responses to people with mental illness developed with support of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.

NAMI social networking site for young adults: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has launched StrengthofUs.org, an online community where young adults aged 18 to 25 living with mental health concerns can provide mutual support. Developed by young adults, StrengthofUs.org is a user-driven social networking community where members can connect with peers to share stories, videos, music, and photos; write and respond to blog entries; and engage in discussion groups. The site also offers resources on issues important to young adults, including healthy relationships, campus life, independent living, finances, employment, and housing. StrengthofUs.org was developed by NAMI in consultation with a young adult expert advisory group and with feedback from more than 200 respondents to an online NAMI survey about their social networking habits and their preferences for an online community. Young adults are invited to register at www.strengthofus.org.

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