Grant creates opportunities for first responders, Texas Panhandle Centers to coordinate on mental health care
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - A $2.9 million grant given to Texas Panhandle Centers (TPC), led to a new initiative between Potter and Randall County first responders.
Officials met today to discuss ways in which to decrease hospitalization and arrest rates for individuals who are suffering from mental illness.
According to Mental Health America, 19 percent of American adults were experiencing some form of mental illness in 2020.
Program Manager for the TPC Intercept Team Bri Ray said the initiative is innovative, and she hopes to see it improve the access to mental healthcare in the Texas Panhandle.
“I think that obtaining this grant is gonna promote that idea of being mentally well and physically well within our community,” Ray said. “I’m just really thankful to be a part of it.”
TPC issued a number of tablets to Potter and Randall County first responders. The tablets provide first responders a way to formally submit a mental health request to TPC if the situation warrants.
Ray said conversation and access to information on mental illness and substance abuse problems are fundamental to improving care.
Ray added she hopes to implement access not only for Texas Panhandle residents, but also for first responders.
“We don’t want people to feel like, ‘here you go — hope this makes you feel better — you’re on your own,’” Ray said. “We want to be able to support them and make sure that they don’t have to go back there, because nobody wants to be in the hospital over and over and over again.”
When asked by first responders at the meeting, TPC officials said access to their services does not require medical insurance.
Saying stigmatization of mental health and addiction issues are barriers for many who never seek care, Ray emphasized conversation about mental illness is necessary.
Ray said TPC is an important safety net for Texas Panhandle residents in the community, and she believes focusing on evidence-based approaches to mental health will ultimately promote better mental healthcare in the area.
Copyright 2022 KFDA. All rights reserved.