Frequently Asked Questions

My friend has a mental health condition. He was arrested and is in jail. How can we help him?

Helping a friend or family member in the criminal justice system can be difficult. NAMI offers guidance on handling the arrest of a family member  including information on securing medication, court appearances and working with an attorney.

If your loved one has been assigned a public defender, it’s helpful to provide them with a mental health history explaining how it may be affecting their behavior. It may be helpful to find out if there is a mental health court or jail diversion program in the area.  These programs aim to reduce the time a person with a mental illness spends in jail by diverting them to community based services, like court supervised treatment or assertive community treatment (ACT) programs. 

Your NAMI Affiliate may be able to offer additional suggestions and support.

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