The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health has awarded $446,615 in grants for four policy projects to improve mental health services for children and adults across Texas.
This is the third year of the foundation's grant initiative to improve local, state and federal policies that affect Texas consumers of mental health services.
"One of the most effective ways to advance mental health, recovery and wellness in Texas is by improving the policies that drive how services are delivered to the people who need them. These projects all were chosen because they have the potential to truly change the system for the better," said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the foundation.
The grant recipients and their projects:
- Bexar County Commissioners Court, San Antonio, $162,854: Bexar County's mental health system is a patchwork of services and providers who operate independently with little or no coordination. As a result, people experiencing a mental health crisis can have a difficult time getting appropriate treatment and could be sent to an emergency room, locked up in the county jail, or remain untreated and homeless. A consortium of local leaders and stakeholders appointed by county commissioners and funded by the grant will develop a blueprint to coordinate and improve mental health services and reduce costs by providing services in appropriate settings.
- EveryChild, Inc., Austin, $112,422: Texas children diagnosed with mental illness and developmental disabilities are overrepresented in child protective services, remain institutionalized longer, and are less likely to be permanently placed with a family. EveryChild, Inc. will use the grant to research current state policies that affect children with dual diagnoses and develop recommendations to state policymakers to improve family placement, treatment and services for these children.
- Texas Appleseed, Austin, $90,861: The Texas Mental Health Code governs crucial aspects of the state's mental health policies but is severely outdated. The code has been amended piecemeal over the years and the last major overhaul occurred more than 25 years ago. With the grant, Texas Appleseed will convene consumers, family members, law enforcement officers, judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, administrators and other stakeholders to produce a public policy report with recommendations to assist lawmakers in modernizing the code.
- Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS), Austin, $80,478: In Texas, 41 percent of youth on probation and 32 percent of those incarcerated have a confirmed mental illness, but the juvenile justice system was not designed or funded to provide children's mental health care. Youth with mental illness often don't get the services and treatment they need while in the system. TNOYS will use the grant to create a policy council of youth with mental health conditions who have been in the system. Council members will be trained in leadership and advocacy and will identify and address specific policy issues in the system, especially those with which they have personal experience.