Leighia Havens celebrated her graduation from the Mental Health Court of the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas last week, a program that successfully graduated six people in 2020.
The Mental Health Court program provides intensive support and supervision to help individuals live stable, sober and healthy lives.
Havens expressed interest in the Mental Health Court while struggling with multiple legal issues caused by her addiction and mental health. She identified a need for help in maintaining her recovery and stability.
Havens completed a long-term, lock-down in a treatment facility and began Mental Health Court in December 2019. Upon beginning Mental Health Court, she expressed a strong commitment to success and proved that commitment throughout her time in the program.
Program participants, staff and community members expressed their pride in Havens completing the program and offered congratulations for her achievements and progress.
“It is remarkable,” Judge Winters told Havens. “It is what we like to see people doing. I know how hard of a worker you are.” Judge Winters said Havens was there to do it, she was there to help, and that goes a long way.
“Recovery isn’t easy. Using is easy. Recovery is the hard part,” said Havens. A supporter told Havens that “you’re a good mom. I knew you were going to be fine because that’s who you are.”
Another graduate, Jeff Moffitt, is hopeful to celebrate his graduation in a “non-pandemic” way this summer. Moffitt began his time in the Mental Health Court in June 2019 after being open and honest about his struggles with addiction and mental health. Although Moffitt could have graduated months ago, he chose to continue in the Mental Health Court program because “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” He remains engaged in the Mental Health Court after his graduation and is looking forward to being a mentor to new participants.
Judge Winters began the Mental Health Court program in 2016 and the first successful graduation occurred in February 2019. Since then, the Mental Health Court has had nine additional graduates.
The program provides an alternative track in the criminal justice system and offers additional support and services. An attendee thanked the court, stating “This program, they take a person and they don’t just say do this. They help. If you trip, they pick you up.”