The Appalachian Judicial Circuit’s Mental Health Court was recently named a model court by Georgia’s Council of Accountability Court Judges. As a model court, the Appalachian Judicial Circuit’s Mental Health Court will serve as a resource to Georgia’s mental health courts in need of technical assistance. Currently, there are 38 mental health courts operating throughout Georgia.
The local mental health court was launched in 2009 by Chief Judge Brenda Weaver as a response to the growing number of men and women who face or who have faced criminal charges while in need of mental health and substance abuse services. The two-year program, which serves to help divert non-violent offenders from our state prisons, integrates counseling, education, compliance, medication management when necessary, and drug screening, with regularly scheduled court reviews. Superior Court Judge John Worcester presides over the local Mental Health Court, which currently serves more than fifty Pickens, Gilmer, and Fannin County residents. Lindsay Ray is the Court’s Program Coordinator and Kayci Burnett and Courtney Pettit are the Court’s case managers.