AUSTIN — The Texas Health and Human Services Commission today announced it is awarding up to $6.6 million in fiscal year 2019 grant funds as part of the second phase of the state's Mental Health Grant Program for Justice-Involved Individuals.
These grant funds will go to 10 rural local mental health authorities and be used to establish, continue, or expand programs to help people with mental illness receive services and supports needed to address mental health issues outside of the criminal justice system and reduce wait time for people committed to a state hospital.
Sen. Joan Huffman's Senate Bill 292, 85th Legislature, established the Mental Health Grant Program for Justice-Involved Individuals and provides $37.5 million in state funds over the 2018-19 biennium to be matched by grantees with local and private funds.
"In 2013, I passed groundbreaking legislation to create a mental health jail diversion pilot program in Harris County," said Senator Huffman. "The goals were to address critical mental health issues affecting our criminal justice system and to replicate the successes of that program in other parts of the state. Through the grant program established by Senate Bill 292, we are one step closer to achieving these goals as the vetted awardees now have the funding they need to create jail diversion programs in their respective communities. I am eager to see the results of these new diversion programs, and I look forward to working with stakeholders next session to bolster their efforts."
Funding through the grant was awarded through an application process, which required a project proposal. Grant awardees are required to match a portion of the state's grant award to demonstrate their communities' commitment to addressing the mental health needs of individuals involved in the criminal justice system and to increasing their access to mental health treatment and services.
The following organizations were selected to receive funding for this phase of the grant program. Pending execution of contracts, these organizations will begin providing services for fiscal year 2019 in the rural counties listed.
- Bluebonnet Trails Community Center MHMR Services – Bastrop, Burnet, Fayette and Guadalupe counties
- Center for Life Resources – Brown, Coleman, Mills and Eastland counties
- Coastal Plains – Jim Wells and San Patricio counties
- Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center – Bosque, Hill, Falls, Freestone and Limestone counties
- Helen Farabee Centers – Wichita and Wise counties
- MHMR Authority of Brazos Valley – Washington, Grimes, Burleson, Madison, Robertson and Leon counties
- Permian Basin Community Center for MHMR – Midland and Ector counties
- Spindletop Center – Chambers County
- Texas Panhandle MHMR – Potter and Randall counties
- Texoma Community Center – Grayson, Fannin and Cooke counties
For more information on accessing behavioral health services in Texas, please visit https://MentalHealthTX.org/.