Background & Approach
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is collaborating with 13 local mental health authorities (LMHAs) to support community-based solutions for expanding or strengthening mental health crisis response and jail diversion. These 13 LMHAs serve North and West Texas and participate in All Texas Access as the North Texas State Hospital Regional Group and Big Spring State Hospital Regional Group, respectively. These regional groups of LMHAs work together to strengthen mental health care access and services in rural areas, providing access when and where it is needed, with the goal of reducing mental health crises that result in emergency room use, incarceration, transportation to mental health facilities, and other costs to local government. Texas is particularly interested in further strengthening partnerships between the behavioral health and the criminal justice systems in rural communities, since 70 percent of Texas is rural.
HHSC will support each LMHA in identifying at least one crisis response or jail diversion strategy that would work most effectively in their community. HHSC is particularly interested in law enforcement drop off or diversion centers, integration of behavioral health crisis staff in 911 dispatch centers, and the use of technology to support crisis services in Texas’ most remote areas. These strategies would complement services already offered by each LMHA, including 24/7 crisis hotlines and mobile crisis outreach teams. Participation in IMPACT also contributes towards HHSC’s implementation of Texas’s new strategic plan, Well and Safe: the Texas Strategic Plan for Diversion, Community Integration, and Forensic Services.