In March Austin Public Health (APH) awarded Integral Care $333,573 for the Ryan White HIV Services. Integral Care’s Community AIDS Resources and Education (C.A.R.E.) Program will provide case management, mental health, and outpatient substance use services at the C.A.R.E. Program office, as well as in clients’ homes, in the community, and via telephone and Microsoft Teams in order to remove barriers for clients who are unable to access services at our office location.
More specifically, mental health services provided will include both individual and group counseling services, as well as psychiatric services for persons living with HIV (PLWH). Integral Care will also provide access to medical transportation assistance for the purpose of accessing primary medical care, services provided at the C.A.R.E. Program, and other supportive services.
Clients will also be able to access case management services via C.A.R.E.’s case management walk-in hours, which are offered multiple times per week. In addition, C.A.R.E. Program case managers will be able to complete SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) applications with members of the target population in order to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
For residential substance use services, we will sub-contract these services to four subgrantees, including: Recovery Unplugged, Carma Health – MD services for Recovery Unplugged, Cross Creek Hospital, and Seton Shoal Creek Hospital.
Integral Care has been awarded a grant for $124,697 from Austin Public Health (APH) to provide community-based services across the continuum of care by hiring two additional Qualified Mental Health Professionals (QMHPs). The addition of one clinic-based Intake QMHP, and one Community Health Worker QMHP will build Integral Care’s intake and re-engagement capacity. By hiring a clinic-based intake QMHP, Integral Care will build our overall intake capacity.
With the addition of an intake QMHP at Integral Care’s newest clinic, Stonegate, we will be able to decrease the workload of the existing staff, in turn reducing burnout, while increasing client satisfaction by decreasing wait times and ensuring that all individuals are seen for their intake appointment. Additionally, Integral Care will also add a Community Health Worker (CHW) QMHP who resides in the community they serve. This CHW will provide culturally appropriate health education and information to promote health equity and reach underserved communities. The CHW will play a strategic role in outreach and engagement, promoting communication and understanding between community members and providers, increasing use of health services in a community, improving adherence to health recommendations, and decreasing use of emergency services. The CHW will help families recognize early signs of mental illness and substance use disorder and encourage community members to get appropriate screenings for behavioral health conditions before they reach a crisis.
By providing this service where clients live, Integral Care can more effectively reach individuals in underserved communities, including minority and low-income populations who face numerous barriers to healthcare access, and connect them to appropriate care. These staff will provide trauma-informed screening, assessment, diagnosis, and patient-centered treatment planning and treatment delivery. Additionally, Integral Care will partner with various community agencies to provide ongoing integrated care. Currently, Integral Care has collaborations with CommUnity Care and Lonestar Circle of Care to provide integrated Primary Care within our clinic settings. Through this grant, Integral Care will identify needs through intake and community-based services and leverage existing resources and partnerships to refer individuals to the most appropriate services.
In March of this year Integral Care received a grant award totaling $778,907 for housing stability services from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). With this grant Integral Care will provide support services to approximately 30 individuals receiving Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Vouchers either through the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) or the Housing Authority of Travis County (HATC). These support services will include case management, independent living skills training, housing stability support, access to psychiatric care, and peer support services.
More specifically, these funds will expand Integral Care’s Landlord Outreach Team by adding a Landlord Outreach Specialist and Peer Support Specialist. The team works to build new relationships with landlords and maintain relationships with properties willing to house individuals with a history of homelessness and mental health needs.
With this funding, Integral Care will add one case management position and a licensed counselor to expand onsite behavioral health services at the Community First Village’s onsite clinic. This will include case management, independent skills training, counseling, and housing stability.
One staff member will support individuals experiencing homelessness in accessing services at Sunrise Community Church, a local homeless day resource center. Services will include linking individuals to housing and/or behavioral health teams, completing coordinating assessments, and assisting with other housing navigation tasks.
Individuals accessing these services will have a history of chronic homelessness and a disabling condition and will be referred through the Coordinated Entry system. Individuals may currently be housed on a PSH Voucher and in need of high intensity, in-home support to maintain their housing or newly referred to the voucher program and experiencing homelessness.
Check out this feature on Integral Care on the City of Austin’s YouTube channel.
Austin Travis County Integral Care has been awarded a grant in the amount of $5,700.00 from the Austin Community Foundation for client assistance for individuals transitioning into housing. The grant ensures our newly housed residents have items such as linens, cookware, utensils, cleaning supplies, deposits, application fees, prescription co-pays, and medical supplies/equipment. Client assistance items will be determined by each client’s unique needs. Individuals moving from the streets to a new home are more inclined to access substance use treatment and mental health care resources when their basic needs are met.
In December 2021, Integral Care received a $337,667 grant from St. David’s Foundation to provide Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to Central Texans in Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, and Caldwell Counties annually for the next two years. MHFA is an evidence-based training that builds mental health literacy by teaching participants how to identify warning signs and symptoms of mental illness and apply a 5-step action plan to help individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
St. David’s Foundation has supported Integral Care’s MHFA program since 2017. In 2020, 2,059 individuals accessed MHFA training through Integral Care’s program.
Over the last several years, Integral Care has provided MHFA training to diverse audiences, including faith communities, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and departments, elected officials, and institutes of higher education. For this grant term, we plan to expand our outreach to focus on the private sector, increasing our community’s capacity to respond to a mental health crisis anywhere Central Texans live, learn, work, and play.
With a diverse corps of Mental Health First Aiders, we can reduce barriers to mental health care access throughout Central Texas. Building mental health literacy across our community – from nonprofit professionals and educators to business leaders and elected officials – helps to ensure that people living with mental illness and/or substance use disorder can get connected to the services they need.
In December 2021, Integral Care received a grant award totaling $7,000 from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities for the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference (CTAAFSC) speaker stipends. The conference, which celebrated its 22nd anniversary in February 2022, focused on mental health and the African American community. The conference offered a series of workshops, poster presentations, panel discussions, and keynote addresses that aimed to destigmatize mental illness and eliminate health care disparities. CTAAFSC provides much-needed awareness and empowerment for a community that is disproportionately affected by mental illness.
TCDD, a longtime supporter of CTAAFSC, provided stipends for two guest speakers: Regina Louise, Author and Child Advocate and Mike Veny, Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist and Author. Louise’s presentation addressed the present state of the US foster care system, as well as likely outcomes for children and youth growing up in foster care. Her CTAAFSC keynote focused on the triumph of spirit and the importance of child advocacy.
Mike Veny’s presentation provided his audience with actionable steps they can take to change their lives and work environments. Mr. Veny’s keynote focused on transforming stigma and finding inner peace in times of uncertainty.
Integral Care and Disability Rights Texas are excited to present a virtual community forum – The Rights of People Living with Behavioral Health Needs in Texas. Join us as we explore the history and rights of people who live with behavioral health needs, including mental illness, substance use disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities in Texas, the protection of client information, how the law has changed over time, what the current law is and how this can impact service delivery and access to care. Learn more and register today.
September 3, 2021
Community Forum: Meaningful Steps to Prevent Youth Suicide
On Wednesday, September 29 at 12pm, join Integral Care and the Central Texas Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for a virtual community forum about youth suicide prevention. Between 2007 and 2018, the national suicide rate among adolescents and youth increased by almost 60% – but there is hope. Prevention is possible when we focus on building protective factors and resiliency and ensuring that families have the education, tools, and resources to take early, meaningful action. Learn more and register today.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School and LBJ School of Public Affairs have released a cost-saving analysis of The Inn, Integral Care’s 16-bed residential treatment program. The study found that The Inn saves taxpayers millions of dollars in public costs while improving outcomes for people experiencing a mental health crisis.
Mental Health Weekly talked to Integral Care about The Inn’s approach.
February 20, 2018
Systems Chief Medical Officer James Baker Featured in TexasMedicine
Integral Care’s Systems Chief Medical Officer James Baker wrote an article for this month’s TexasMedicine about the ways our state can focus on prevention and early detection of mental illness.
By James G. Baker, MD, MBA
It is far too common in psychiatry for diagnosis to first come in a crisis visit to the emergency department, the equivalent of diabetes being first diagnosed as ketoacidosis. That is why I am very persuaded by the argument that we should focus on early detection and treatment in mental health, just as in other medical specialties.
What if our medical association and our local medical societies took the lead in the development and implementation of strategic population mental health initiatives across the state focused on early detection and intervention of mental illnesses? Our shared vision could be a statewide population mental health initiative with four parts:
Routine screening for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress as a part of every outpatient clinic visit in Texas. Mental health screening could ― and should! ― be just as routine as temperature, pulse, and blood pressure screens for every adult in Texas, whether care is provided in the public or private sector. As an example, The University of Texas Southwestern’s Madhukar Trivedi, MD, has an iPad software program, VitalSIgn6, that screens for depression and can be modified to screen for other common mental health challenges.
Routine substance-use screening as part of physical exams for every teenager and adult in Texas. The NIDA Modified Assist (for adults) and the CRAFFT (for adolescents) are examples of quick, easy-to-use screening tools. Significant reductions in alcohol and substance use can result when screening is followed by a nurse or social worker offering brief, evidence-based intervention at the same doctor visit.
Easy access to evidence-based, first-episode psychosis treatment and research protocol for every newly diagnosed patients in Texas. Early and aggressive treatment in programs like RA1SE have been shown to improve markedly the outcome of patients with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders that include psychotic symptoms. Its availability currently is limited, but detection and early treatment are just as important with schizophrenia as they are with cancer.
Easy access to mental health first-aid training for everyone in Texas. Mental Health First Aid is a training course started in Australia 15 years ago that is now available statewide for anyone in the community, including first responders. The training reduces stigma, and, just like CPR, Mental Health First Aid has the potential to save lives. Our goal could be to train 750,000 people statewide.
Perhaps our medical association and local medical societies could partner with medical school departments of psychiatry, with local mental health authorities, and with local and statewide philanthropic organizations to demonstrate quick and quantifiable success in our four-part, population mental health initiative. Armed with that data, we could approach policymakers with strategies to improve access and quality of mental-health and substance-use services to everyone in our state, especially to the poor.
The potential impact on our patients and our communities ― and on each one of us ― is huge. As a mother, father, son, or daughter, you are just as likely to have family affected by mental health as by cancer ― up to one in three Texans has a mental health and/or substance use disorder. As a taxpayer, you help fund at least $1.4 billion in emergency department costs from mental illnesses presenting in crisis.
Each of us now knows that mental illness is medical illness, just like diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular illness. And each of us knows that contemporary mental health care is rooted in science. Next, we must insist upon prevention, early intervention, and aggressive treatment for people who endure these potentially devastating disorders. When all that is required for early detection is a couple of questions asked while taking a pulse, then collectively we must insist that those questions get asked.
James G. Baker, MD, MBA, is a member of the Texas Medical Association Council on Science and Public Health. He also serves as associate chair of clinical integration and services in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and as systems chief medical officer for integral care, the community mental health center for Austin and Travis County. Dr. Baker is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a recipient of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Exemplary Psychiatrist Award as well as the Mental Health America of Greater Dallas Pamela Blumenthal Memorial Award.
The commentary article was originally published on the Texas Medical Association’s website here as part of TMA Publication TexasMedicine February 2018.
December 14, 2017
How Integral Care Supports People Having a Mental Health Crisis
The Austin Chronicle highlighted how Integral Care works closely with community partners to support the mental health needs of Travis County, particularly those experiencing a mental health crisis. “Anyone can experience a mental health crisis,” said Laura Wilson-Slocum, Integral Care Practice Administrator. This article explores the variety of crisis services Integral Care provides our community – the Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care provides short term crisis care in an overnight setting, our Mobile Crisis Outreach Team co-responds with the Austin Police Department and EMS to provide community-bases crisis care, and our Psychiatric Emergency Services provides mental health urgent care seven days a week. Read the article here.
November 15, 2017
24/7 Crisis Helpline
Spectrum News recently highlighted the impact of our 24/7 Crisis Helpline. They interviewed Ca’Sonya, an Austinite who used the Helpline to get through her darkest hour. After Ca’Sonya lost her husband, she decided to make a life-changing phone call to get the support she needed. “The hardest step is just starting picking up the phone,” said Nicole Warren, Integral Care Helpline Program Manager. “Once you pick up that phone, you’ll find someone who is passionate and dedicated to what we do here.”
Integral Care’s Helpline provides around the clock crisis support and access to all of Integral Care’s programs and services for adults and children, including appointments and billing. Our Helpline recently added free interpretation services in 15 language to meet the needs of our growing and changing community. We have trained medical interpreters who speak Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Korean, Filipino, Russian, German, French, Urdu, Farsi, Japanese, Hindi, Gujarati, and Napali. Learn more about the Helpline.
October 31, 2017
Risk of trauma high for Harvey evacuees (KVUE)
August 30, 2017
During a traumatic event, mental health support is more important than ever. KVUE covered the developing story of Hurricane Harvey and its emotional effect on evacuees and first responders. “It’s critically important for mental health professionals to be available to those in need, to give guidance and offer a sense of safety and security,” said Dr. Kathleen Casey, Integral Care’s Director of Clinical Innovation and Development.
August 8, 2017
KXAN highlighted Integral Care’s first of its kind Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care. The Herman Center will offer the right level of care at the right time, reduce cost of care and improve health outcomes for patients. “The idea is most mental health crisis can resolve in the first 48 hours of them beginning, so we want to quickly stabilize people so we can get them on that path to recovery and back out into the community as soon as possible, avoiding a hospital stay which tends to be lengthier and more expensive,” said Laura Slocum, an Integral Care Practice Administrator. The Herman Center is currently only accepting internal referrals from Integral Care crisis services. It’s not appropriate for walk-ins or self-referrals. To learn more about the Herman Center, click here.
September 29, 2017
Behind the suicide hotline (KAGS)
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.”
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July 1, 2020
Integral Care’s quarterly peer-led newsletter features interviews with Integral Care staff, stories of recovery, creative writing, tips for self-care and offers hope for tomorrow. This newsletter is led by an Integral Care Peer Support Specialist. Our peer support specialists have lived experience with mental illness or substance use disorder. (View Newsletters)