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Regional Mental Health Court (RMHC)

Learn what makes King County Regional Mental Health Court (RMHC) unique and how the program works.

Program overview

Participants with mental health diagnoses have specialized needs and require continuity of care, access to treatment, and access to medication. The King County Regional Mental Health Court seeks to increase effective cooperation between two systems that have traditionally not worked closely together- the mental health treatment system and the criminal justice system.

Our mission is to engage, support and facilitate the sustained stability of individuals with mental health diagnoses within the criminal justice system, while reducing recidivism and increasing community safety. Using a wraparound approach, the Regional Mental Health Court team meets frequently with the participant to assess needs, provide positive feedback and problem solving, and require accountability for non-compliance with treatment and probation conditions.


Regional Mental Health Court consists of a team of professionals who have specialized training and experience with mental health issues and therapeutic courts. They meet regularly to ensure that RMHC functions at its highest possible level. The team consists of:

  • Judge
  • Defense Attorneys
  • Defense Mitigation Specialists
  • Prosecutors
  • Victim Advocate
  • Probation Mental Health Specialists
  • Public Health Court Clinicians
  • Community Support Specialist
  • Program Management

Case referral to RMHC

Felony and municipal court cases

If the participant is charged with a felony, or the case is pending in a King County municipal court, the prosecutor currently assigned to the case must make the referral. Felony cases and city cases can only be referred before final disposition.

  • City prosecutors must use the RMHC City Referral Form.
  • Law enforcement and other interested parties may contact the King County Prosecutor’s Office at for more information on initiating a referral to RMHC.

Misdemeanor cases

If the participant is charged with a misdemeanor and the case is being prosecuted by the King County Prosecutor’s Office, anyone –including defense counsel‒ can refer the case to RMHC. These cases may be referred at any stage of the proceedings, from filing to post-sentencing. Referrals are typically made in court simply by asking the currently assigned judge to set an RMHC courtesy hearing. 

Eligibility criteria


  • The charge(s) are being prosecuted by King County or a municipality within King County
  • The participant has been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental health disorder that is ongoing and that significantly impacts his or her ability to function at baseline
  • Appropriate services are available in the community and the participant is amenable to treatment and supervision

Full Details

Refer to RMHC eligibility criteria

After referral

Participants appear in court one or more times to meet with the RMHC team and to screen for program eligibility. During this time, the participant will be asked to sign one or more releases of information, so that the RMHC Clinicians can review records related to the participant’s current or prior mental health treatment. Defense counsel may also be asked to provide supplemental information about the participant’s mental health needs.

If the participant is eligible for RMHC and is amenable to the program requirements, the Court Clinician will draft an individualized treatment plan specific to the participant’s needs.

In order to opt in to RMHC, the participant must enter a case disposition. Depending upon the nature and severity of the charge(s), this may be a stipulated order of continuance, other diversion agreement, or a guilty plea.

Expectations of participants

Every treatment plan is unique, but typical conditions of supervision include that the participant must:

  • Comply with conditions of treatment and up to 24 months of supervision
  • Be actively engaged in mental health treatment and/or a chemical dependency program while participating in court
  • Take prescribed medications, as directed
  • Maintain court-approved clean and sober housing and follow all housing rules (the RMHC team can often assist with housing placements)
  • Commit no new law violations and may not possess weapons
  • Submit to urinalysis, as directed
  • Report to a Probation Mental Health Court Specialist, as directed by the Judge
  • Return to court for reviews on a regular basis