April 11, 2018
February 14, 2018
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission recently announced that 14 local communities will receive grant funding to help reduce recidivism, arrest and incarceration of individuals living with mental illness through Senate Bill 292. Integral Care received preliminary notice of an award anticipated to be $2.5M on an annual basis.
Integral Care in collaboration with Travis County, Central Health and the City of Austin proposed to establish a new Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) team linked to permanent supportive housing in our community. FACT is an intensive, multi-disciplinary team-based intervention that stops the revolving door of incarceration for individuals living with serious mental illness. FACT will serve individuals who have been arrested for minor offenses or felonies as well as experienced recurring and lengthy in-patient mental health hospitalizations, most of whom are living homeless in our community. The FACT team will use their unique expertise to serve 90 of the most frequent users of criminal justice, which is expected to reduce the overutilization of emergency services, jail visits and inpatient hospital stays.
Nationally, 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year. In Travis County, 25-30% of individuals in our jail system receive treatment for a mental illness. When individuals are unable to receive the mental health treatment and care they need, symptoms and conditions can worsen. Once a person leaves jail, they may not have access to health care and may have a difficult time finding a job due to a criminal record – both of which can impact access to housing and start the cycle of homelessness, emergency room usage and incarceration once again.
The FACT community-based treatment team will offer access to mental health care, counseling, medications, family education, primary health care, peer support and permanent supportive housing. Once an individual is housed, the FACT team will provide ongoing wrap-around services to support improved health and well-being in order to keep people in housing and out of the criminal justice system.
Please contact Elizabeth Baker, Integral Care’s Practice Manager of ACT and Specialty Services, at Elizabeth.Baker@IntegralCare.org with any questions.
All Integral Care non-essential services, including our Dove Springs, Rundberg, E. 2nd and Riverside clinics, will be closed on Tuesday, January 16th due to dangerous weather conditions.
Essential services will continue to operate under normal business hours. Essential services include Integral Care’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline and Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES). Please note: PES is now located at 1165 Airport Blvd, Austin, 78702. Tuesday hours are 8am to 10pm.
If you need help now, please call Integral Care 24/7 at 512-472-HELP (4357).
January 11, 2018
Integral Care’s Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) moved to a new location – the Richard E. Hopkins Behavioral Health Building, located at 1165 Airport Blvd., Austin, 78702. The new location has separate waiting rooms for adults and families with children as well as plenty of free parking. It is also accessible by 3 Cap Metro bus lines.
PES hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Saturday, Sunday and Holidays from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. PES is a walk-in urgent care clinic that supports adults, children and families experiencing a mental health crisis.
A new mental health clinic opening this week, jointly operated by Integral Care and the Dell Medical School, will serve people with low incomes who are experiencing bipolar disorder.
The collaboration is part of the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences, launched last year through a $50 million gift from James and Miriam Mulva and the Mulva Family Foundation. The new clinic is in the Health Transformation Building of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin.
The clinic serves people living with the most complex mental health conditions — the population served by Integral Care, the local mental health authority serving the Travis County community since 1967. Integral Care will provide expert therapists and other mental health professionals to work in the clinic, as well as ongoing treatment and care to patients through other Integral Care services and programs.
“This is a unique partnership between academia and community-based mental health care,” said David Evans, Integral Care’s CEO. “Integral Care and Dell Medical School are leveraging their combined skill sets, expertise and knowledge to help individuals experiencing complex mental health issues to improve their health.”
The collaboration is unique among the clinics that have been established so far under UT Health Austin, the school’s clinical practice: in the new clinic, the practice team is led by Dell Med faculty physicians and Integral Care professionals. Providers will use the team-based, data-driven models and processes employed by UT Health Austin’s existing musculoskeletal, neurological and women’s health clinics. These innovative approaches are designed to increase value to patients by improving health outcomes and reducing costs.
UT Health Austin plans to offer similar services for other patients with bipolar disorder, including those with private health insurance and referred by outside providers, starting in the spring.
“The goal is to improve patient outcomes, regardless of a person’s ability to pay,” said Dr. Stephen Strakowski, chair of Dell Med’s Department of Psychiatry. “This community has a tremendous need for more mental health care. This collaboration with Integral Care will allow us to start providing that care as quickly as possible, and we’re looking forward to expanding services next year as we grow.”
Patients in the clinic will see a team of mental health specialists — a Dell Medical School doctor who is an expert in bipolar disorder, as well as Integral Care licensed therapists and a licensed vocational nurse who provide ongoing mental health support throughout their care. The team works together closely to provide the best possible mental health care in order to support the health and well-being of each patient.
“The clinic is primarily focused on helping people who are experiencing acute mental health episodes — we want to stabilize them in the clinic to support their recovery,” said Dr. Jorge Almeida, who directs the clinic. “Providing this specialized service ensures people get the right care at the right time and in the right location, which reduces the strain on emergency rooms and hospitals and improves patient health outcomes. Once patients are stable, they will seamlessly transition into Integral Care’s excellent community-based programs, helping them heal over the long term.”
In addition to therapy, case management and nursing, Integral Care provides a full array of services to patients, including crisis intervention and substance use disorder treatment.
“This is an opportunity to build our community-based workforce,” said Dr. James Baker, Integral Care’s systems chief medical officer and a member of Dell Med’s psychiatry faculty. “For the first time in Travis County, medical students and residents have the opportunity to experience community-based mental health care. Our hope is that some will be inspired to stay and provide this crucial care in our community.”
For more information, contact:
Steve Scheibal, Dell Medical School, 512-495-5062 (w), 512-762-8808 (c)
Anne Nagelkirk, Integral Care, 512-440-4034 (w), 512-468-3803 (c)
November 15, 2017
Registration is now open for the 18th Annual Central Texas African American Family Support Conference. It will be held February 27th and 28th at the Palmer Events Center. For the past 17 years, thousands have attended the conference to learn how to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, eliminate health disparities and strengthen awareness of mental and physical healthcare resources.
Our upcoming conference welcomes three stellar mental health advocates as our keynote speakers: Trina “TiTi Ladette” Cleveland, Nicole R. Conway and Dr. Ryan Sutton. Please join us for another amazing year. To register or learn about more ways to be involved, please visit our website. We look forward to seeing you in February!
If someone stopped breathing or showed signs of having a heart attack, most people would know how to help. They’d begin administering CPR or call 911. But many of us don’t know how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. Integral Care, the Local Mental Health Authority in Travis County, is providing free classes to help educate the community on this important issue.
Tonke Casarez works in maintenance for the City of Austin Housing Authority. As part of his job, he interacts with people every day.
“I really like doing this job, meeting new people, talking to people,” said Mr. Casarez, a Mental Health First Aid Graduate. “I’ve always been a people person. I love to interact and get to know everybody,”
His experiences at work and home prompted Mr. Casarez to take Mental Health First Aid, a one of a kind, nationally-recognized mental health training course, so he could learn how to better support the residents. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour class that teaches people how to help someone showing the signs of mental illness like depression or anxiety, or experiencing a mental health crisis. The class is offered free to the community in Austin, Round Rock and Georgetown thanks to a generous grant from St. David’s Foundation. A partnership with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services makes it possible to offer classes in Williamson, Bastrop and Caldwell counties.
“We recognize that encountering a mental health crisis leaves many of us wondering how best to respond. St. David’s Foundation is delighted to provide support to Integral Care so that more Central Texans can participate in Mental Health First Aid classes, and gain a better understanding of mental illness, and how to assist those who are affected,” said Kim McPherson, Senior Program Officer for St. David’s Foundation. “I’ve personally taken the class and found it useful in my personal and professional life.”
Since 2009, Integral Care has offered Mental Health First Aid training to over 3,500 people in Austin. With 1 in 5 people experiencing a mental health issue any given year, it’s a great resource for the community. Attendees learn:
- Warning signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illness
- Information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis and substance use disorder
- A 5-step action plan to help someone in crisis or showing signs of mental illness
- Professional and self-help resource
The goal of Mental Health First Aid is that attendees walk away with a toolbox they can pull from in their daily lives – whether at work, school, home or in the community.
“If they experience a situation where someone might need mental health support, they can use their skills from their Mental Health First Aid experience to support someone facing a mental health crisis or showing early signs of mental illness.” said Tracy Abzug, Practice Manager and Mental Health First Aid instructor at Integral Care.
“I recommend this class for everybody,” said Mr. Casarez. “I think everybody needs to learn that just because a person is acting a certain way, they’re not trying to act that way toward you. It’s just the way their mental state is or what is happening in their life at that time. Taking this class has also impacted my personal life. My son has ADHD and this has helped me recognize when he might be having anxiety or feeling depressed.”
Take a class. Save a life. Strengthen your community. Sign up today. To register for a class, visit bit.ly/MHFATexas. To learn more about Mental Health First Aid and how you can support your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family, visit IntegralCare.org/MHFA.
October 28, 2017
If you need shelter as a result of Hurricane Harvey, please call 311 or visit redcross.org/shelters. If you need immediate mental health crisis support, please call us 24/7 at 512-472-HELP (4357).
Integral Care, Travis County’s Local Mental Health Authority that supports adults and children living with mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual and developmental disabilities, announces enhancements to its 24/7 Helpline.
Integral Care’s 24/7 Helpline, originally established as a volunteer crisis and resource hotline in the late 1960s, expanded its services in 2015 to improve access to care and provide direct connection to around-the-clock mental health crisis support as well as Integral Care’s programs and services for adults and children. Most recently, Integral Care began providing access to Helpline services through interpretation services available in 15 languages as well as implemented an automated callback feature.
“Connecting people to ongoing care is critical for recovery, health and well‐being,” said David Evans, CEO of Integral Care. “When someone calls the Helpline, it’s often the first time they’re reaching out for help. Having one point of entry to Integral Care, through our 24/7 Helpline, makes it easier for people to access the health services they need when they need them.”
In FY’17, the Helpline supported almost 250,000 calls. Over 18,000 people were connected to immediate support just by calling 512-472-HELP.
“The Helpline was literally a lifesaver,” said an Integral Care client. “My husband had just passed away. If I hadn’t had the Helpline, I wouldn’t be here today. They gave me reassurance that I was not alone, that there was help out there. They connected me to ongoing care within Integral Care. Today, I have my case manager, my peer support specialist, my nutritionist, my personal trainer. It’s an overall, well-rounded support system that I’ve gotten through Integral Care. It’s made my life whole again.”
Integral Care’s 24/7 Helpline features include:
- One point of entry to Integral Care’s programs and services.
- A team of to 40 trained call-center professionals.
- Access to Integral Care services through interpretation services available in 15 languages.
- Immediate emotional support for a mental health crisis 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Access to Integral Care’s programs and services for adults and children experiencing mental illness, substance use disorder and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Access to appointment scheduling.
- Connection to emergency services.
- Connection to trusted community resources through 211.
- Support for billing questions.
- Proactive, follow up calls to ensure services were delivered and the client is benefiting from the services.
- Automated callbacks so people don’t have to wait on hold when making follow up appointments.
“The Integral Care 24/7 Helpline provides hope to individuals,” said Nicole Warren, supervisor of the Helpline. “That’s what we do on a regular basis. Letting people know that they are not alone, and getting them connected to life-saving resources at Integral Care is an important part of our job. Our Helpline is saving lives and improving access to quality health care for our community.”
The Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care is now open for internal referrals through Integral Care’s crisis services. The Herman Center offers the right level of care at the right time while reducing the cost of care and improving health outcomes for patients.
The Herman Center provides short term, emergency psychiatric crisis care for adults in Travis County. It will support our community by providing an alternative to incarceration and in-patient care, and will offer the opportunity to ensure that individuals whose primary issue is mental health have an appropriate and safe place to be stabilized, assessed and treated. The goal is to quickly resolve the immediate crisis so the individual can return home or transfer to another Integral Care residential program for ongoing support and recovery. To learn more about the services of the Center, click here.
Moving forward, primary referrals to the Herman Center will come from law enforcement, healthcare providers like local emergency departments. The Herman Center is not suitable for walk-ins or self referrals.
Thank you to all of our community partners, especially St. David’s Foundation and Central Health, for making this much needed service available in the community. St. David’s Foundation funded the project with a grant totaling almost $9M and Central Health made the land available via a low cost (virtually free) long-term lease, valued at $1.2M.
September 29, 2017
July 29, 2017
KAGS in Bryan/College Station recently did a story on suicide hotlines, featuring Integral Care’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline. Nicole Warren, Integral Care’s Crisis Helpline Program Manager, says: “Getting people connected with supports is so important.” If you need help, please call us 24/7 at 512-472-HELP (4357).
June 8, 2017
Integral Care was recently featured in a Spectrum News story about the success of HOST, the Homelessness Outreach Street Team. HOST is a partnership of Integral Care, the Austin Police Department, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Downtown Austin Community Court. HOST was launched by the Austin Police Department with significant support from Mayor Pro-Tem Kathie Tovo and the Downtown Austin Alliance. Integral Care brings the mental health and substance use disorder expertise to the team and is also pivotal in providing access to housing.
August 1, 2017
KVUE featured a story about Integral Care’s soon-to-open Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care. “The Judge Guy Herman Center provides a different type of treatment for people experiencing a mental health crisis,” said Laura Slocum, an Integral Care Practice Administrator. “This really focuses on short-term stabilization with a goal of getting that person on a path to recovery as quickly as possible and having them return to the community as quickly as possible with support from Integral Care’s treatment teams.”
July 17, 2017
KXAN highlighted the ribbon cutting ceremony of Integral Care’s soon-to-open Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care. The Herman Center provides short term, emergency psychiatric crisis care for adults in Travis County. It will support our community by providing an alternative to incarceration and in-patient care, and will offer the opportunity to ensure that individuals whose primary issue is mental health have an appropriate and safe place to be stabilized, assessed and treated. Austin Police Sargent Michael King said: “It’s going to be a valuable tool for the police department.” To learn more about the Herman Center, click here.
April 28, 2017
KUT explored how housing can help individuals experiencing homelessness overcome addiction to alcohol and drugs. KUT asked Integral Care how we support our homeless community experiencing substance use disorder. “If someone’s living on the streets and struggling with a substance use disorder, it’s impossible for them to recover on the streets,” said Ellen Richards, Integral Care Chief Strategy Office. “We literally take people who are experiencing homelessness, move them straight into housing, regardless of whether they have an active mental illness or substance use disorder, and then we wrap rehabilitation supports around them so they can get on the path to recovery and a new life.”
February 9, 2017
KVUE highlighted Integral Care’s soon-to come Housing First Oak Springs, a whole health treatment approach to ending chronic homelessness for people living with mental illness and/or substance use disorder. This 50-unit apartment community will provide housing to regain health and independence as well as offer access to an onsite clinic with counseling to support emotional health and drug and alcohol treatment to help with recovery.
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