County judge named to Mental Health Taskforce

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Clay Harrison

Cumby City Government

AUSTIN — Clay Harrison, who took office Jan. 1 as the Hopkins County Court-at-Law Judge, was recently appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to serve on a task force created by Senate Bill 362 to address emergency mental health issues across the state. The order appointing Harrison was signed Oct. 1, by the nine justices of the state’s highest court.

“Our county works hard in these tough cases. District Judge Eddie Northcutt has an extensive background in the field of mental health and County Judge Robert Newsom currently serves on the state’s Judicial Commission on Mental Health. Sheriff Lewis Tatum and Lt. Tanner Crump, County Attorney Dusty Rabe, and Justices of the Peace Brad Cummings and B.J. Teer have reinvented the way we do emergency mental health detentions,” Harrison said.

Emergency mental health issues have recently taken center-stage in the national debate on mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1-in-5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year and 1-in-25 experience serious mental illness. Last year, 19.1% of U.S. adults, or 47.6 million people, experienced mental illness.

The Judicial Commission on Mental Health was created by a joint order of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The mission of the Judicial Commission on Mental Health is to engage and empower court systems through collaboration, education and leadership to improve the lives of individuals with mental health needs and persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“These issues are complex and we all have a lot to learn,” Harrison said, “but I’m confident we’re going to keep making it better as we go.”