Dallas Officials Aiming To Save Lives, Money By Empowering And Treating Chronically Homeless

Mental health is at the center of the Cottages at Hickory Crossing, an $8.2 million public-private partnering that hopes to empower and treat the chronically homeless. They’re given their own residence on the nearly three-acre site and provided on-location mental healthcare and treatment. Full Story

Texas Veterans to Gain More Access to Mental Health Services

Brian Escobedo has served three tours in Iraq, survived insurgent attacks, and earned a Purple Heart. Those attacks prompted post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression—conditions he overcame largely through counseling and peer support. He now serves as a full-time peer counselor at the Lone Star Veterans Association in Houston, as well as a volunteer coordinator with Texas’ Military Veteran Peer Network. And the 83rd Texas Legislature recognized the network’s value to soldiers like Escobedo. Lawmakers mandated increasing veterans’ access to mental health professionals, appropriating $4 million more in the 2014-15 Department of State Health Services budget to help service members, veterans, and their families connect with… Full Story

Mental Health Services Need to Be Integrated Into Disaster Response, Study Finds

Mental health services should be incorporated into disaster response, a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center psychiatrists finds. Researchers sifted through more than 1,000 articles, revealing that disasters can exacerbate existing mental problems and generate new ones. “Adverse mental health outcomes may not be as apparent as are physical injuries such as broken bones, bleeding, and other obvious trauma,” said Dr. Carol North, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern, and author of the study. “But our review clearly shows that mental injuries are prevalent and require a similar system for identifying, triaging and treating these individuals, just as you would… Full Story

Helpful Happiness Leads to a Longer Life, Study Finds

Happiness, optimism, and laughter are all linked, not surprisingly, to longer lives. However, not all happiness is created equal. A recently published study shows a certain type of happiness related to service and purpose is more pertinent to health and longevity than the happiness related to personal gain. University of North Carolina psychologist Barbara Fredrickson examined the two types of happiness,  “eudaimonic” and “hedonic” pleasures, repectively, and found eudiamonic to be far more beneficial to a person’s health and well-being than hedonic. The study, published in the National Academy of Sciences, quizzed 84 volunteers on their happiness levels, using different… Full Story