On Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court announced the formation of a new group focused on substance use, mental health, and intellectual disabilities.
The new Kentucky Judicial Commission on Mental Health is made up of individuals from organizations with a substantial interest in mental health matters and will work to improve the practice, quality, and timeliness of judicial response.
“The prevalence of mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual disabilities in our society is undeniable,” Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. said at the press conference. “For courts and our justice system, this prevalence has a disproportionate impact as the justice system has become the default system for addressing the needs of those with behavioral and mental health issues, and our state prisons and county jails are, without question, the largest providers of mental health services in this state.”
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said Kentucky still has a long way to go to make sure that mental health is treated as physical health, that the services are there, and the stigma is gone. He stated the commission is a “really big deal” and will be important for the state moving forward.
Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts will serve on the commission.
The Kentucky Judicial Commission on Mental Health will meet for the first time on September 22.