Chief Wilkes on the Mental Health Cooperative Partnership
October 7, 2016
Chief Tony Wilkes writes:
In 2005, the Nashville Sheriff’s Office contracted mental health services with the Mental Health Cooperative (MHC). The mental health team works alongside Correct Care Solutions (CCS) medical staff and Sheriff’s Office staff to ensure that inmates in need of mental health services have proper access to care. This includes conducting routine and emergency assessments, crisis intervention services, psychiatric nursing assessments, psychiatric evaluations, on-going medication management for those inmates in need of psychotropic medication, and discharge planning services. In addition to providing direct care to inmates, the mental health team also conducts mental health and suicide prevention training to medical staff and DCSO staff. Externally, the DCSO-MHC team participates in Davidson County Mental Health Court and the Davidson County Treatment Court (also known as drug court) to provide up-dates on individuals in court and to ensure that individuals are appropriately linked to services upon discharge from the DCSO facilities. The mental health team is led by Director, Dr. Sara Vardell and comprised of the following members: Amanda Bracht, LCSW, VP Clinical Services, MH Cooperative; Joe Kocheleck, LCSW, Lead MH Specialist; Shara Biggs, LPC-MHSP (temp), MH Court Liaison; Sarah Portis, MSW, MH Specialist; Marli Simpson, LPC-MHSP (temp), MH Specialist; Greg Goings, RN, Psychiatric Nurse; Stephen Mory, MD, Psychiatrist; Adrian Bennett, MA, MH Specialist; Kelsey Jabara, LMSW, MH Specialist; Sherrill Green-Barkey, APN, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner; and Amanda Gholson, LMSW, MH Specialist.
With the increase of mentally-ill being incarcerated and the required demand for proper care, the Nashville Sheriff’s Office depends heavily on the expertise of the MHC team. In fact, the MHC team provides an extraordinary service that assists the DCSO manage inmates assigned to restrictive housing. And as the DCSO moves forward, I believe that the MHC team will play an integral role in reducing and/or eliminating the mentally-ill population from being housed in restrictive housing.
Please join me in thanking the MHC team for their commitment and service to the DCSO.