Acera Health

Mental Health Diversion Program

The Path To Sound Mind, Body and Soul

Orange County Luxury Residential Mental Health Facilities

Residential Licenses: #306006072 #306006131

At Acera Health, we recognize the profound impact mental illness has on individuals and communities. With nearly one in five (19%) U.S. adults experiencing some form of mental illness, the need for comprehensive and compassionate care is more crucial than ever. Our Mental Health Diversion Program is tailored to meet this need, offering a supportive pathway for individuals grappling with mental health challenges, particularly within the complexities of the California legal system.

This program is more than just a treatment plan; it’s a bridge to holistic recovery and legal resolution. It provides a viable alternative to traditional judicial proceedings for those who are eligible under California law. By engaging in our Mental Health Diversion Program, participants can access the care and support they need to address their mental health issues in a therapeutic environment, steering them away from the criminal justice system and towards a path of recovery and well-being.

Understanding the broad prevalence of mental illness in society underscores the importance of our program. We are committed to delivering effective care and support, helping individuals navigate their mental health journeys within a framework that is both healing and legally responsive. Acera Health’s program stands as a testament to our dedication to addressing mental health needs with empathy, expertise, and a deep commitment to the betterment of our clients’ lives.

Understanding Mental Health Diversion in California

Mental health diversion in California represents a significant shift in addressing the intersection of mental health issues and the legal system. This approach, rooted in the principles of restorative justice and rehabilitation, is encapsulated in California’s legislative framework, particularly in statutes like Penal Code 1001.36. This law permits individuals with diagnosable mental health disorders, which played a significant role in their criminal behavior, to undergo mental health treatment as an alternative to traditional legal penalties.

The Legal Basis of Mental Health Diversion

Under California law, mental health diversion is a pre-trial intervention. It allows the court to grant a diversion to a defendant, effectively pausing the criminal process while the defendant participates in and completes a court-approved mental health treatment program. 

Historical Context and Amendments:

  • Enactment of PC 1001.36: PC 1001.36 came into effect following the passage of California Senate Bill 215 (SB 215). This bill was a landmark in California’s legislative history, marking a progressive step towards addressing mental health within the judicial system. SB 215 and the resulting PC 1001.36 recognized the need for an alternative approach to dealing with defendants suffering from mental disorders.
  • Effective Date: The law became effective on June 27, 2018, providing a new pathway for eligible defendants to receive mental health treatment instead of undergoing traditional criminal proceedings.
  • Statute Amendment in 2022: In 2022, the statute underwent amendments to refine and clarify the provisions of the mental health diversion program. These amendments are reflective of the ongoing commitment to improve and adapt the legal approach to mental health issues in the context of criminal law.

Eligibility Criteria:

The eligibility for mental health diversion under PC 1001.36 is determined based on several criteria, including:

  • Diagnosable Mental Disorder: The defendant must have a diagnosable mental condition that played a significant role in the commission of the crime.
  • Nexus between Disorder and Offense: The court must be satisfied that the defendant’s mental disorder was a significant factor in the commission of the charged offense.
  • Suitability for Treatment: The defendant should be deemed suitable for treatment, with a likelihood that they would respond positively to mental health treatment.
  • Public Safety Consideration: The court must assess and be satisfied that granting diversion would not pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.

Process of Mental Health Diversion

When a defendant is considered for mental health diversion, the process typically involves several key steps:

  • Request for Diversion: The defense counsel, the defendant, or the court can propose mental health diversion.
  • Assessment: A qualified mental health professional assesses the defendant to establish the presence of a relevant mental disorder and its relation to the offense.
  • Treatment Plan Proposal: A comprehensive treatment plan is proposed, specifying the nature of treatment, the goals, and the methods of monitoring progress.
  • Court Review: The court reviews the proposal, considering the nature of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, and any other relevant factors.
  • Monitoring of Progress: During the diversion period, the defendant’s progress is regularly reviewed, and adjustments to the treatment plan may be made.

Completion and Legal Implications

Upon successful completion of the mental health treatment program, the court dismisses the charges against the defendant. This dismissal means the arrest and diversion program participation do not constitute a criminal conviction, offering the individual a chance for a fresh start without the burden of a criminal record. However, failure to complete the program or compliance issues may lead to the reinstatement of the criminal process.

Eligibility for the Program

To qualify for our Mental Health Diversion Program, individuals must meet specific criteria set forth by California law. This includes evidence that the individual suffers from a qualifying mental disorder, that this disorder played a significant role in the commission of the charged offense, and that the individual would respond well to mental health treatment. Acera Health works closely with legal representatives to determine eligibility and ensure that our program is the right fit for each individual’s needs.

Our Approach to Treatment

At Acera Health, our approach to treatment within the Mental Health Diversion Program is holistic and personalized. We understand that each individual’s journey with mental health is unique, and our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to creating personalized treatment plans that address both the mental health issues and the overall well-being of our clients.

Core Components of the Program

  • Comprehensive Assessment: Upon entering our program, each individual undergoes a thorough assessment to identify specific needs and challenges. This assessment forms the basis of the personalized treatment plan.
  • Evidence-Based Therapies: Our treatment modalities include a range of evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and other approaches tailored to individual needs.
  • Support Groups and Peer Support: Group therapy sessions and peer support groups are integral to our program, providing a space for individuals to share experiences and learn from each other in a supportive environment.
  • Medication Management: If necessary, medication management is provided by our psychiatric team, ensuring that any prescribed medication is effectively contributing to the individual’s treatment plan.
  • Life Skills Training: We emphasize the development of practical life skills to aid in the reintegration into society post-treatment. This includes vocational training, educational support, and other personal development activities.
  • Family Involvement: Family involvement is encouraged, as it plays a crucial role in the recovery process. Our program includes family therapy sessions and educational resources to support family members.
  • Legal Coordination: Our team collaborates with legal representatives to ensure compliance with all requirements of the mental health diversion program, aiding in the successful navigation of the legal process.

The Journey to Recovery and Legal Reprieve

Participation in our Mental Health Diversion Program is more than just treatment; it’s a journey toward recovery and a chance for legal reprieve. Upon successful completion of the program, individuals have the opportunity to have their charges dismissed, fostering a fresh start and a renewed opportunity for a healthier, more stable life.

Why Choose Acera Health?

  • Expert Team: Our multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals has extensive experience in both clinical treatment and navigating the legal aspects of mental health diversion.
  • Personalized Care: We prioritize personalized care, ensuring that each individual’s treatment plan is tailored to their unique needs.
  • Legal Expertise: Our understanding of California’s mental health diversion law means we can provide informed guidance throughout the legal process.
  • Commitment to Recovery: Our primary goal is the recovery and well-being of our clients. We are dedicated to providing the support and resources necessary for each individual to thrive.

Acera’s Mental Health Diversion Program

Acera Health’s Mental Health Diversion Program is specifically designed to align with these legal requirements, providing a structured and therapeutic environment for individuals who are candidates for this intervention. Our program emphasizes evidence-based treatments and comprehensive care tailored to each individual’s needs, ensuring adherence to the legal criteria and optimizing the chances for successful rehabilitation and legal resolution.

In conclusion, California’s mental health diversion program represents a progressive approach to handling certain criminal offenses committed by individuals with mental health disorders. By focusing on treatment and rehabilitation rather than punishment, this program aims to benefit not only the individuals involved but also the broader community. Acera Health’s commitment to this approach underscores our dedication to supporting individuals on their journey to recovery while navigating the complexities of the legal system.

Clinically Reviewed by:

mental health | melody 1

Melody Stone, LMFT

Melody Stone is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has over 17 years of experience in the field of behavioral health. She works as the Chief Clincal Officer (CCO) to Acera Health, where she is a strong leader focused on sustainable success.