Episode 91

Decriminalizing Mental Illness


July 20th, 2022

1 hr 21 mins 39 secs

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About this Episode

Yoel and Alexa chat with Jennifer Cox and Lauren Kois, co-directors of the Southern Behavioral Health and Law Initiative. Established in 2020, the initiative was created to address the dearth of mental health resources for people who become involved with the legal system. Jennifer and Lauren walk our co-hosts through common scenarios that can occur when a person with mental illness encounters the legal system, some of which involve long waits in understaffed state hospitals with little access to basic mental health resources. They also describe various efforts to ameliorate these problems, including their own work to optimize use of the 988 mental health emergency line in Alabama. In the process, they offer hope for researchers who aim to effect policy change without becoming mired in political polarization. And, they challenge future guests to a deadlifting contest.

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