The Region V+ Adult Mental Health Initiative (AMHI) has developed and implemented the Comprehensive Re-Entry Program regionally. A presentation of the program was given by Adult Services Supervisor Kim Larson and staff Nick Anderson to the Aitkin County Board of Commissioners during its May 28 Health and Human Services meeting.

The program addresses coordination of services between law enforcement, jails, courts, hospitals, counties and tribes in the region to provide a continuum of care to individuals with acute or chronic mental or chemical health issues who become involved with law enforcement.

The program aims to reduce recidivism, and shift the focus to stabilization, assessment and triage issues of the individual. In the future, Larson hopes the program will result in diversion of individuals to home settings, crisis stabilization beds, intensive residential treatment services, chemical dependency treatment and mental health crisis instead of incarceration.

In 2018, there were an average of 46 individuals booked into Aitkin County Jail each month. Anderson conducts screening, early intervention and discharge planning for any individuals arrested within Aitkin County. He is also able to provide information  for non-residents for resources outside of the region.

Many of the individuals Anderson works with have a combination of chemical dependency and mental health needs. This year, he said about 75 percent of his cases involve chemical dependency (he estimates that approximately half of those are alcohol related, and the other half related to methamphetamine). He estimates 25% of those are mental health focused.

As part of the program, Aitkin County Jail has implemented a video system for inmates to have an opportunity to communicate with a professional psychiatrist via Vidyo.

The CRE Program is funded through the Sourcewell Innovations Grant, the Aitkin County Consumer Support Program Grant and the Department of Human Services Innovations Grant.


The Region V+ Adult Mental Health Initiative (AMHI) has teamed up with area law enforcement to launch the Vitals App in an effort to create safer interactions between first responders and people living with invisible and visible conditions and disabilities.

The Vitals First Responder App provides first responders with crucial information about vulnerable individuals, increasing the effectiveness of situational response and vastly expanding the potential for successful and safe resolutions. Vitals enrollees or their family members voluntarily provide the individualized information in this program revolving around technological innovation.

The Vitals App is a free service to individuals and caregivers and can be downloaded in Apple and Google Play stores. To sign up, go to www.thevitals to text “vitals” at 797979.


Director Cynthia Bennett updated the board on several bills HHS has been watching throughout the legislative session. Updates are that the opioid stewardship bill passed, which will generate $20 million in revenue to the state; $8 million of which will be distributed to counties and tribes for child protection services.

The provider tax that was set to sunset was reinstated at 1.8% (lowered from 2%) with no sunset date. Bennett said this will help support programs such as MinnesotaCare Medical Assistance and SHIP.

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