AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Many opportunities are being made to improve mental health resources in the Texas Panhandle.
Amarillo health care professionals and representatives met today to discuss the potential funding opportunities that could better help those with mental illnesses.
Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute Senior Director of Government Affairs Nelson Jarrin held a presentation to talk about bills being filed for mental illness resources throughout Texas.
“The Texas legislature just kicked off their session earlier in January and I want them to be aware of different opportunities that they can utilize to be able to advance their behavioral health system here,” said Jarrin. “Different bills are being filed and potential funding opportunities [are being made] to move the mental health system forward, and to also take that information and help change the community here.”
The Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance aims to educate the community on how the funding would help improve local mental health resources.
“This legislative conversation is a huge part of how this happened, where we’re going with it and of course what we have to decide here in the Panhandle for ourselves," said Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance Chairman Laura Street. “It’s about what we need and how we want to approach that.”
Amarillo United Way was recently given a grant through House Bill 13 of over $200,000 to help fund the Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance.
The grant goes towards helping primary care physicians better help patients who need mental healthcare.
“We want to integrate care,” said Street. “Physical health and mental health need to be integrated together in one person, so that we’re actually taking care of the whole person and not just the physical body. Mental illness is a physical disease, just like heart disease and diabetes.”
Street said the potential mental health care funding is something the community needed to be aware of.
“This [meeting] brings it all together, not only what is happening in the rest of the state, but how that connects to us and how we connect to the rest of the state," said Street. "We realize that we are our own individual area with our own individual needs.”
A brief overview of the Texas Mental Health Landscape that was discussed on Wednesday can be found online.