October 27, 2020
The Virtual Summit Series (Summit), held by the Illinois Supreme Court in cooperation with the State Justice Institute (SJI) and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), concluded with its final session on October 27, 2020.
The Summit, a mixture of plenary sessions and interactive panel presentations, is part of the National Judicial Task Force initiative to examine how to improve state courts and community response to mental illness.
The final session was entitled Illinois’ Path to Improving the Court and Community Responses to Persons with Mental Illness: Bringing the Community Together in One Voice and Common Mission.
Director of the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts (AOIC) Marcia M. Meis welcomed over 100 participants to the final Summit session and highlighted key points of the previous four sessions from speakers such as Dr. Margie Balfour of the University of Arizona, Judge Steven Leifman of Miami-Dade, Florida, psychiatrists Dr. Debra Pinals (Michigan) and Dr. Sarah Vinson (Georgia), and former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy.
Director Meis called on participants to help contribute to a high-level action plan by participating in breakout groups for discussion and to particular issues in mental health to address. Afterwards, Michelle O’Brien, a Principal Court Management Consultant for the National Center for State Courts, called on a representative from each group to speak to their internal discussions and the potential solutions that they brainstormed.
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke finished the Summit with closing remarks, noting that public attitudes need to change regarding mental illness and calling for a paradigm shift regarding mental health in which the state of Illinois can be a leader.
Materials from each session are available at www.ncsc.org/mentalhealth