- Kaiser Health News (Aug. 20): Wrestling with a Texas county's mental health system
- Houston Public Media (Aug. 21): Pilot jail diversion program for mentally ill
Still, usually when I hear someone tout their work as a model, I think: That's great, I hope it's true the brave new world begins at your doorstep and this or that local program changes how everybody does everything. OTOH, I'm generally more comforted to hear about tax dollars spent following models that work than attempting to forge them, which is a dicier play.
Our fundamental problem is that Texas spends too little on behavioral health care (49th among states in per capita spending) and too much of what care is delivered happens through the criminal justice system. So diversion programs are the right way to go. Indeed, when one watches the massive, pointless, knee jerk spending at the border that accomplishes nothing, it's hard not to think how much good that money would have done expanding these sorts of mental health diversion programs to other jurisdictions. These programs actually work, are cost effective, and directly make the public safer in the places where most of them live. It'd be difficult to make similar claims about Texas' border surge with a straight face.