Image - Mental Health, Youth and the Justice System
Image - Mental Health, Youth and the Justice System

Patrick Kennedy and an Expert Panel: Mental Health, Youth and the Justice System

Part of The Commonwealth  Club’s series on mental health, dedicated in memory of Nancy Friend Pritzker, with support from the John Pritzker Family Fund

Critics argue that jails and prisons are the most visible evidence of the failing of America’s public mental health system and that the most heartbreaking failures are in the field of juvenile justice. Seventy percent of young people entering the juvenile justice system are said to have a diagnosable mental health need. Advocates argue that detention and correction facilities provide a unique opportunity to intervene and connect children to services and support systems before it is too late. Others argue that community-based, non-incarceration solutions are more effective.

With facilities such as San Francisco’s juvenile hall closing by 2021, how can San Francisco and other communities address system-involved youth with mental health issues? What role should and must the justice system play? And how will their decisions impact society at large? Join us for an important panel discussion.

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Anton Nigusse Bland

M.D., Director of Mental Health Reform, San Francisco Department of Public Health

Nicole Elmore

Community Youth Activist; Program Assistant, Opportunities for All (Mayor London Breed’s Youth Initiative for Workforce Development, Partnered with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission)

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Patrick Kennedy

Former U.S. Congressman (D–RI), Mental Health Advocate

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Marina Tolou-Shams

Ph.D., Professor, UCSF Department of Psychiatry; Director, Division of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; Former Director, Rhode Island Family Court, Mental Health Clinic

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Dan Ashley

ABC7 TV News Anchor; Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors—Moderator