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

Texas Health Resources Opens Behavioral Center in Uptown

Texas Health Resources has opened Texas Health Springwood Center Uptown Dallas with a menu of behavioral services geared toward residents of the district. Operated by Texas Health Springwood Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford, the center offers counseling services that include complimentary private consultations, as well as programs specializing in specific populations such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; young adults age 18-25; adults; adolescents; and working professionals. The center also offers services for depression, addictions, anxiety, chronic pain, bullying, bipolar conditions, workplace and academic stress, and family conflict. The facility has 10 counselors, including psychologists and social workers. The center provides referrals to… Full Story

OIG Finds Lax Oversight of Texas Medicare Mental Health Centers

Private contractors tasked with finding fraud and abuse in Medicare community mental health centers have been ineffective in Texas and other states prone to such activity, according to an audit by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The OIG urged additional resources to attack fraud in states such as Texas, and more rigorous efforts to collect fraudulent payments once they have been identified. The OIG previously had found that about half of community mental health centers showed questionable billing in 2010, most of which were in Texas, Florida and Louisiana.

Mental Health: The Elephant in the Room

Healthcare costs are the single most important factor to gain control of for our country to remain solvent in the future. There are many opinions about how this should be done and on which part of the healthcare dollar we should focus. These include reining in hospital costs,  managing chronic disease,  focusing on disease prevention, limiting fraud and reducing administrative waste and unnecessary testing, to name a few. All of these solutions are tangible items that can be measured, tracked and analyzed with data we have today. However, I would subscribe to you that those with mental health diseases pose… Full Story

Arlington Psychiatrist Strives to Carve Out a Role for Behavioral Health in Delivery Reform

Arlington psychiatrist Ken Hopper is on a mission. He wants to reinvent how psychiatric services are delivered, and he wants to carve out a prominent role for mental-health providers in healthcare delivery reform models. Of the 10 largest physician specialties, psychiatry represents the most severe provider shortage in Texas. There are fewer than seven psychiatrists for every 100,000 Texas residents. That rate is less than 60 percent of the national average. About one out of four U.S. adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. About half of those… Full Story