MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Madison County is launching a program for people with untreated, severe mental illness.
The Madison County probate court will start an Assisted Outpatient Treatment program or AOT on February 3. AOT is a court-ordered program that will focus on outpatient care for people with severe mental illness who are capable of surviving safely in the community with treatment but have shown problems continuing with voluntary treatment.
“Families and other support systems are far too often left unable to help loved ones who have difficulty adhering to treatment until they pose a threat to themselves or someone else,” Probate Judge Frank Barger said. “With this new program, I am delivering on my promise to overhaul the mental health work overseen by the Probate Court – implementing another treatment option and improving the landscape of this critical issue within our community.”
Numerous studies have found that AOT programs reduce episodes of system recidivism, violence, incarceration, homelessness, and repeat hospitalization among its target population. A person’s participation in AOT will be determined after a petition for involuntary commitment is processed, condition and needs are assessed, a physician confirms that outpatient treatment is appropriate, a specific plan is developed for treatment, and a hearing is held before the court.
The individual will report to the court on a monthly basis to confirm they are compliant with their treatment plan and review any concerns that might exist.
The program is made possible through a partnership with WellStone Behavioral Health and funding generated by passport application fees taken in by the court.