Four Austin-based nonprofit organizations have received $408,017 in grants from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to work toward meaningful, systemic changes in public policy that will advance mental health services for children and adults in Texas.
This is the fourth year of the foundation's grant initiative to improve local, state and national public policies that affect Texas consumers of mental health services and their families.
"The path to positive change often begins with informed, passionate and open grassroots advocacy. These projects will lead to important discussions with stakeholders, leaders and decision makers on policy matters that truly can advance mental health, recovery and wellness in Texas," said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
Here are the grant recipients and their projects:
- Corporation for Supportive Housing, $140,000: People who have a mental illness and are homeless have difficulty working toward recovery and wellness until they have safe, stable and affordable housing. The Texas office of the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) will assess the state's Medicaid plan and recommend policy changes that would enable Texas to obtain federal funding for supportive housing programs and services for people facing the dual challenge of homelessness and mental illness. The organization also will host a statewide forum and present at conferences, trainings and meetings across Texas on health and housing issues that affect people who are homeless and have a mental illness.
- Texas Impact, $130,350: Solitary confinement (also called administrative segregation) has gained attention in recent years as a serious mental health concern in the criminal justice system. According to Texas Impact, an interfaith public policy network, more than 8,800 Texans were in solitary confinement in 2010. The organization will educate faith leaders, faith communities and policy makers about this issue and lead efforts to advocate for changes in state policies.
- Texans Care for Children, $86,467: Schools nationwide are changing their campus cultures by adopting proven strategies to support positive behavior and reduce or eliminate behavior challenges among students. However, many schools in Texas have not yet adopted this approach. Texans Care for Children will bring together key leaders, stakeholders and experts to develop a plan and recommend policies for providing leadership, coordination and resources at the state level to support Texas schools in implementing positive behavior support strategies and practices.
- EveryChild, Inc., $51,200: Strategies to support positive behavior and reduce or eliminate behavior challenges also are gaining national recognition as an effective approach to preventing or intervening in challenging behaviors in children and adults who have developmental disabilities and emotional disturbance or mental illness. EveryChild, Inc. will research how other states have attempted to enhance behavior supports by implementing positive behavior support strategies in their public health care systems, issue policy papers on effective strategies, convene stakeholders to discuss what strategies might work in Texas, and recommend policy changes to support this approach statewide.
The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by supporting mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.