Mental Health Court

The mission of the Bucks County Mental Health Court is to develop a partnership between the mental health and criminal justice systems. This partnership will address the specialized needs of individuals with serious mental illness diagnosis, thereby reducing recidivism rates, promoting public safety, and improving the quality of life for participants by establishing mandatory, comprehensive, community-based treatment and services within the guidelines of the Mental Health Court.

Program Overview

The Bucks County Mental Health Court serves two populations:

  1. Probation/Parole violators
  2. Post-plea, pre-sentence offenders

The length of participation in Mental Health Court is expected to be between 12 and 24 months, but individuals will have up to 5 years to complete.  The Court consists of 4 Phases, including a Transition Phase.  

Phase I begins with weekly appointments with the probation officer along with a weekly court appearance.  Phase I also includes an introductory period of time to allow participants to adjust to the requirements of the Court.  The introductory period of Phase I is 30 to 45 days in length and counts toward time in Phase I.  

The duration of the phases is as follows:

  • Phase I is a minimum of two (2) months
  • Phase II is a minimum of three (3) months
  • Phase III is a minimum of four (4) months
  • Transition Phase is a minimum of three (3) months

After the minimum phase duration, participants who have met the standards of the phase requirements and demonstrated consistent compliance with their treatment and Goal plans will be promoted to the next phase. With each successive phase, participants are monitored less frequently and less intensively if they continue to be in compliance with their treatment and Goal Plans. 

Sanctions are utilized in the event of non-compliance. Rewards are used to acknowledge and encourage progress and success.

Referral Process

Referrals to the MH Court must include the following items:

  • Completed referral form that includes the identification of a qualifying diagnosis received within the past 2 years.
    • Applicant must have received a diagnosis of a serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI) as defined by OMHSAS
      • Diagnoses which meet the criteria and as defined in the DSM-5 include Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia, Other Schizophrenia Spectrum/Psychotic Disorders, and Borderline Personality Disorder. Individuals who do not have a current documented diagnosis or documented diagnosis by history within the last two years must complete an appropriate psychological/psychiatric evaluation to document a diagnosis.
    • Applicant must also meet OMHSAS standards for Blended Case Management or Administrative Case Management
      • Treatment History must encompass one or more of the following: 6 or more days of psychiatric inpatient treatment in the past twelve months; meeting the standards for involuntary treatment within the past twelve months; currently receiving or in need of mental health services and receiving or in need of services from two or more human service agencies or public systems such as Drug and Alcohol, Vocational Rehabilitation, Criminal Justice, etc.; at least 3 missed community mental health service appointments, or two or more face-to-face encounters with crisis intervention/emergency services personnel within the past twelve months; or documentation that the individual has not maintained his/her medication regimen for a period of at least 30 days.
  • Copy of the Criminal Complaint and Affidavit of Probable Cause.
  • Any additional information requested by MH Court or relating to applicant’s suitability for the MH Court

The following documents should be attached to the referral:

  • All available Psychiatric evaluations (within the past 2 years).
  • All available Psychological evaluations (within the past 2 years).
  • Progress notes from a treating physician (within the past 2 years).
  • A letter from a treating psychologist/psychiatrist indicating the diagnosis, period of treatment, and level of compliance.
  • A drug and alcohol assessment if the charge is drug related.
  • Magellan Release or Commercial Information Release Authorization, if requested.

If you are interested in Mental Health Court please complete the Mental Health Court Referral Form and forward to Mental Health Court Administrator Erin Schieber via:

E-mail: Erin Schieber 

Fax: 215-348-6503

Mail/Drop off:
Mental Health Court, Attn: Erin Schieber
Bucks County Court Administration
100 N. Main Street., 2nd Floor
Doylestown, PA 18901

Helpful Resources: Screening Process Checklist 

For a complete copy of the Bucks County Mental Health Court Policies and Procedures please contact Erin Schieber.