Improving mental health and substance misuse in Texas

Blog by Kristin Jenkins, President of the DFWHC Foundation

With a growing North Texas focus on improving the mental health and substance misuse of residents, the DFW Hospital Council (DFWHC) Foundation is supporting the efforts with new collaborations.

The DFWHC Foundation’s Community Health Collaborative Advisory Board, representing 11 area health systems, has selected the improvement of mental health and health services as its number one strategic goal over the next three years. The group has established the following projects:

1. Finalize a 16-county Community Health Needs Assessment focused on mental health and substance misuse;

2. Train more than 10,000 lay-people in the national Mental Health First Aid curriculum throughout the 16-county region;

3. Support the Dallas County ReCAST grant program, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is designed to strengthen community resilience in the face of civil unrest in the community;

4. Convene health systems to exchange information through the Meadows Smart Justice project to provide more meaningful outpatient mental health and substance misuse services to patients at high risk of interaction with law enforcement and regional emergency departments who are better served with consistent outpatient mental health care services.

The Community Health Collaborative has invited area organizations to participate in these initiatives. Five subcommittees have been formed and are actively working on these benefits for our community. If you have an interest and would like to lend your expertise, please contact Dr. Sushma Sharma, our director of public and population health research, at [email protected].

Finally, our DFWHC Foundation team would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to Mr. Harvey Fishero, our Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Chuck Lyles, an original trustee, for service on the Foundation’s board for nearly 10 years. These gentlemen have been an inspiration to our team, our health systems and the community. Their last meeting will be Nov. 20, 2017. Please help us in thanking them both for the numerous volunteer hours they have provided for our organization in addition to making North Texas a better place to live.