Behavioral Health Primer for the Justice Profressional

Coalition offers Behavioral Health Primer for the Justice Professional

Written by: Hon. Janeice T. Martin

On December 8, 2023, the Collier Coalition for Healthy Minds took a major step toward advancing Collier County’s Mental Health and Addiction Services Five-Year Strategic Plan (2020-2024).

Two of the Plan’s six Priorities were implicated when the Coalition presented its inaugural Behavioral Health Primer for the Justice Professional.

Specifically, the training advanced both Priority 4: Increase the Capacity and Effectiveness of Justice System Response for Persons Experiencing Serious Mental Illness and/or Substance Use Disorders, and Priority 6: Improve Community Prevention, Advocacy, and Education Related to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders.

A total of 50 professionals completed the one-day, core competency training on behavioral health, including judges, clerks, prosecutors, public defenders, private attorneys, guardians, guardians ad litem, and others. Hosted right in the Courthouse, the professionals were instructed on the most common mental and substance use disorders, on their signs and symptoms, and on the effective treatments for each.

Attendees also learned about Baker and Marchman Act proceedings, Trauma and Resiliency, De-Escalation and Effective Communication, Mindfulness and Self Care, and much more. The content-rich day culminated in the group hearing the personal story of a young woman/mother/professional who successfully completed Drug Court, Dependency Court and Family (Custody) Court.

Her impactful testimony left everyone understanding just how critical it is to have a justice system that understands and responds appropriately to the behavioral health needs of the persons and families we aim to serve here.

The training was a collaboration of several Coalition members, including the David Lawrence Centers, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and the 20th Judicial Circuit. The training was produced by several area experts, each of whom volunteered to build and conduct the training, at no charge to the attendees.

Continuing education credits were provided, along with food and beverage throughout the day, thanks to the generous support and assistance of the Collier County Bar Association, and its charitable Foundation.

The training borrowed heavily from the Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) that our Sheriff and area Police Chiefs have committed to having all of their deputies and officers, along with several civilian staff, complete. While CIT is 40 hours, this training for justice professionals was distilled to just 8 hours, over the course of a single day. The group looks forward to conducting the training twice more in 2024, and on an ongoing basis, with the goal of having all professionals who interact with the public in any capacity in the Courthouse receive the training. Presentation dates for 2024 are tentatively set for June 14 and December 6. For more information, please contact Judge Martin’s office at

Curriculum Committee:
Hon. Janeice T. Martin, Collier County Judge, 20th Judicial Circuit
Lt. Leslie Weidenhammer, MS MHC, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Behavioral Health Bureau
Nancy Dauphinais, LMHC, MCAP, COO, David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health

Faculty (in addition to the above):
Mary Ellen Frazier, PsyD
Magistrate Pam Barger, J.D.
Maggie Baldwin, LMHC, MCAP, CRRA, Dir. of Crossroads Continuum, DLC
Janice Toledo, MSW, Office of the Public Defender
Andy Solis, J.D. (former County Commissioner)

Special thanks for tremendous support from:
Administrative Office of the Courts
Court Technology
Collier County Bar Association
Collier County Bar Foundation