Hogg Foundation Awards Nearly $460,000 in Grants to Address Key Mental Health Policy Issues in Texas

Six Texas-based organizations that are working to address timely, meaningful mental health policy issues in the state have received $456,565 in grants from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in November to support their projects.

The foundation awarded the mental health policy project grants through a competitive public solicitation process that attracted 36 proposals. Texas-based nonprofit organizations and governmental entities were eligible to apply.

The foundation sought proposals for projects that tackle important issues and are likely to lead to improvements in mental health policies affecting Texas residents. The foundation also considered the extent to which projects address diversity or health disparity issues and involve mental health consumers and their families. The grants range from $50,000 to $93,168.

  • The Texas Association for Infant Mental Health received $93,168 to promote changes in Texas child care licensing standards that will support healthy social and emotional development and mental wellness of infants and toddlers in child care. The association will collaborate with the Texas Association for Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.
  • The Harris County Healthcare Alliance received $87,874 to begin a three-phase project to transform the region's fragmented behavioral health services into a recovery-oriented system that is closely coordinated with the county's physical health care services. The alliance is collaborating with elected officials, service providers and consumer advocacy groups.
  • The Mental Health Policy Initiative for Texas Exonerees at the University of Texas at Arlington received $80,990 for its groundbreaking research of the mental health needs and lack of funding for behavioral health services for people in Texas who are exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned.
  • Southwest Key Programs received $76,570 to identify mental health issues and behavioral health care disparities affecting youths of color in juvenile justice systems in Texas. Southwest Key will join with the Inter-American Institute for Youth Justice in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin to develop policy recommendations that address problems in the system.
  • Advocacy, Inc. received $67,963 to identify changes needed to improve emergency psychiatric treatment for Austin area residents. The nonprofit is working with local hospital emergency departments, consumers and the Massachusetts-based Center for Public Representation. The project could serve as a model for improving psychiatric crisis care in other Texas communities.
  • Texas Appleseed received $50,000 to identify, document and address problems and abuses in the treatment of people with mental health conditions in immigration detention centers in Texas. The organization estimates that as many as 15 percent of detainees have a serious mental illness that interferes with their ability to effectively participate in the immigration hearing process.

"Public policy can directly affect access to services, quality of care and legal rights of Texans with mental illness. The projects funded by the Hogg Foundation have the potential for long-lasting, meaningful change in Texas," said Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the university. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

"The foundation is continuing our longstanding practice of funding projects to address important and relevant mental health issues that directly affect the people of Texas," said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation. "The grants also will help build interest in and capacity for mental health policy research and development work among nonprofit agencies, academic institutions and government agencies in Texas."

Though the impact of policy changes can take time, Martinez said the grants will help start the process. To measure the short-term impact of the grants, the foundation asked applicants to include evaluation plans in their proposals.

The Hogg Foundation was founded in 1940 by Miss Ima Hogg, daughter of former Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg, to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation's grants and programs support mental health consumer services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.