Mental Health Diagnosis

Misdemeanor Mental Health Court Diagnosis

The primary diagnosis must meet the criteria for a Serious Mental Illness (SMI), which is defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as:

adults aged 18 or older (17 or older in Georgia) who currently or at any time in the past year have had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) that has resulted in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

The MMHC will accept individuals with the following SMI diagnoses:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Major Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Other diagnosed mental disorder as deemed appropriate

In addition to meeting the clinical eligibility, the defendant must also be legally eligible to participate.  The Solicitor General’s office will review each case and criminal history to determine initial consideration and eligibility. Thereafter, the full Court interdisciplinary team that includes the judge, coordinator, clinical evaluator, social worker, case managers, public defender, prosecutor, jail mental health, and a Community Service Board representative will discuss and determine a participant’s final eligibility for the MMHC.  Not only must the current charge be non-violent, but the criminal history must substantiate a non-violent background. Specifically, the criminal offense must not involve any case in which a victim suffered a broken bone or other severe bodily harm or involved weapons.

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