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Legislative Conference Center, Texas Capitol

1100 Congress Avenue

Austin, TX 78701

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Dear Community Leader,

At the urging of NAMI Texas and other mental health stakeholder organizations, the Texas Legislature in 2013 passed S.B. 646, which clarified the law regarding a judge's (with probate jurisdiction) authority to order certain individuals with serious mental illness to comply with team-based outpatient treatment. The Governor at the time signed the bill into law shortly thereafter and it took effect in September 2013. However, few jurisdictions in Texas have implemented this law, despite ample research demonstrating that assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) is effective at reducing hospitalization, incarceration, emergency room utilization, victimization, suicide attempts and other negative outcomes.


As a point of reference, New York State passed a law in 1999 that gives judges the authority to order people meeting a certain set of criteria to participate in outpatient treatment. An evaluation conducted five years after implementation found that incarcerations fell by 87%, arrests by 83%, psychiatric hospitalizations by 77%, and homelessness by 74%. The average number of days hospitalized went from 50 before AOT to 22 during AOT to 13 after completion of the AOT program. These reductions resulted in significant cost savings for the state of New York. Furthermore, participant improvement in day-to-day functioning, self-care, and community living were observed. Participants in the AOT program also showed sustained improvements in overall functioning and reductions in harmful behaviors.

The evidence is clear: well-designed, effectively-implemented AOT programs have the potential to improve individual outcomes, engage families, and reduce costs.

In 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognized AOT as an evidence-based practice. Last year, SAMHSA announced grant awards for 15 entities - including 2 in Texas - to establish AOT programs. Later in 2016, the federal 21st Century Cures Act strengthened and expanded AOT programs through a SAMHSA grant reauthorization and funding increase for states to implement AOT, and permitted states to use Department of Justice grant funding for AOT in civil courts as an alternative to incarceration.

The concept of AOT is really starting to catch on, but a push to educate key stakeholders on the benefits of AOT and to assist with AOT implementation is needed here in Texas.


To that end, this September 27th, NAMI Texas is teaming up with the Texas Council of Community Centers, the Sheriffs' Association of Texas, and the Treatment Advocacy Center to host the first-ever Texas AOT Symposium. We will examine components of highly successful AOT programs and give participants opportunities to discuss how their communities could structure a program.


On behalf of NAMI Texas and our partnering organizations, we are inviting a team from your county/jurisdiction to participate in the Texas Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Symposium, at no cost. The Symposium will take place at the Legislative Conference Center in the Texas State Capitol on September 27th, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We expect to be able to offer CLES, CMEs and CEUs.

A limited number of scholarships are available for family members and peers to cover mileage or other travel costs. If you are interested in a scholarship, contact Greg Hansch (Public Policy Director of NAMI Texas) at publicpolicy.director@namitexas.org or 512-693-2000.


To be eligible to attend, counties/jurisdictions must send a team including all/most of the following:

  • Probate Court Judge or Magistrate with probate jurisdiction;
  • Hospital/Crisis Program CEO or Clinical Director;
  • Mental Health Provider Agency CEO or Clinical Director;
  • County Sheriff or Police Chief;
  • Peer (Person with lived experience with mental illness); and
  • Family Member of a person with lived experience

Those interested in developing an AOT implementation plan and attending this event should go ahead and register. We ask that you also reach out to and invite those listed above to ensure that your county/jurisdiction has the key stakeholders at the table - AOT will only work when a team of stakeholders works collaboratively with fidelity to the AOT model to achieve the individual outcomes and cost savings that AOT is shown to result in.


Register your team right here on Eventbrite or contact Greg Hansch at publicpolicy.director@namitexas.org or 512-693-2000. If you have any questions about the event, please contact Greg.

We look forward to seeing you at the Symposium!


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Legislative Conference Center, Texas Capitol

1100 Congress Avenue

Austin, TX 78701

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