a monthly newsletter from Integral Care

October: Making Strides for World Mental Health


A Message From Our CEO

Today is World Mental Health Day, a time to celebrate how far we have come and draw attention to how much farther communities need to go for better mental health treatment and policies across the globe. In many countries, myths and mistreatment still surround mental illness. There is good news though as countries are stepping up and taking action.


What kind of strides are we making in the U.S.? Congress is taking action by introducing legislation — The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. If passed, the act would create a 3-digit number (988) for mental health crisis calls. As U.S. Representatives Chris Stewart and Seth Moulton point out in their Washington Post oped, “Right now…help is more than just a three-digit phone call away….For example, people can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, but callers must search for and then dial 1-800-273-8255. That is one step too many in a crisis.”


Integral Care team leading NAMIWalks Central Texas 2019

Integral Care team leading NAMIWalks Central Texas

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) is literally making physical strides – with NAMIWalks. Over 100 walks just occurred around the country, raising awareness and funds for mental health. Here in Austin, a record 2,140 registrants signed up and raised nearly $350,000 to support NAMI Central Texas programs. Integral Care was proud to lead the walk with a team of 150 walkers.


It is also important that local governments take action to build stronger systems of support for our communities. Locally, Austin and Travis County have seen several recent wins for mental health. Austin City Council passed a budget last month for FY2020, expanding access to mental health care. The budget provides

  • funding for Integral Care’s Expanded Mobile Crisis Outreach (EMCOT),
  • mental health clinicians at the 911 call center for the first time,
  • more mental health training for 911 dispatchers,
  • a new telehealth tool for first responders handling mental health crisis situations and
  • expanded Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Community Health Paramedics staffing from 11 to 18.

I’d like to express my gratitude to Austin City Council for allocating essential funding to continue the vital work of EMCOT and strengthen how our community responds to people in crisis. When people across Austin and Travis County have access to the right care at the right time, our whole community is stronger. Our world is stronger.

David Evans
Chief Executive Officer



Integral Care staff with EMCOT partners: Asst. Chief Joseph Chacon, Sgt. Michael King, Integral Care Crisis Services and Justice Initiatives Practice Administrator Laura Slocum, Senior CIT Officer James Turner, Integral Care EMCOT Practice Manager Marisa Aguilar, Lt. Brian Jones, Chief Brian Manley, Integral Care Chief Operations Officer Dawn Handley, Asst. Chief Justin Newsom and Comdr. Donald Baker

Thanks to support from Austin City Council, our Expanded Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (EMCOT) is growing and increasing access to mental health care services for residents of our community. EMCOT helps people experiencing a mental health crisis by providing support anywhere someone needs help. Since its inception in 2013, they have served over 7,200 individuals. With increased funding, EMCOT will get people connected to the right care faster.


EMCOT staff in the field working with APD’s Crisis Intervention staff

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Austin Police Department (APD), and Travis County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO), as well as other law enforcement agencies, can request 911 dispatch EMCOT to co-respond in situations involving mental health issues. The goal is that clinicians arrive within 30 minutes. Starting in December, EMCOT team members will be stationed at the 911 Call Center, where mental health calls will be transferred by 911 call takers to EMCOT. This means quicker assessment and triage of a person’s situation and the level of care they need. Under the city’s new budget, EMCOT will add 4 full-time clinicians. This means we will have a clinician located at the call center every day, 8am-12am.


EMCOT is key to preventing the overuse of emergency departments, involuntary commitments for psychiatric hospitalizations and law enforcement involvement in our community.

In FY18, EMCOT diverted
– 99.8% of individuals served from arrest,
– 87.1% of individuals served from involuntary placement in a psychiatric hospital and
– 78.7% of individuals served from emergency department admission.

EMCOT helps ensure that first responders can return to what they do best – responding to medical emergencies and public safety issues.

Partner Highlight


An international best-practice model, Austin Clubhouse offers people with mental illness a place to work, build friendships and community. The Clubhouse operates in the heart of Austin, tucked behind a church on 45th Street. It’s one of over 300 Clubhouses in more than 30 countries. The majority of Austin Clubhouse members are also Integral Care clients – past or present.

The Clubhouse is a judgement-free, restorative environment where people with a mental health diagnosis obtain the support of others in recovery from mental illness. They offer a variety of programs to help members achieve their full potential:

  • transitional, supported, and independent employment,
  • education,
  • whole health and wellness and
  • housing support.

A unique aspect of the Clubhouse model is the fact that members participate in a “work-ordered day”, meaning everyone has a role – from cooking in the kitchen, to tending the garden or other tasks that contribute to Clubhouse operations.


“Members’ recovery is really in the relationships and skills built in side-by-side engagement. This reduces isolation and empowers them to try new things. We impact lives in meaningful ways and achieve positive outcomes with a cost-effective model.”  – Amber Goggia, Interim Executive Director

The Clubhouse is open Monday through Friday and every holiday. They work with about 30 individuals daily, serving approximately 150 annually. They see their biggest turnout on holidays. More than anything, the Clubhouse is a community – one where people build on their strengths and can feel a part of something bigger than themselves.

What’s New at Integral Care


September 2019: Making Strides for World Mental Health

August 2019: Working Together for Child & Youth Mental Health

July 2019: Legislative Wrap-Up – Some Bipartisan Wins for Healthcare

June 2019: Strengthening Access for Veterans and the Entire Military Family

May 2019: Women and Mental Health

April 2019: Legislative Session Status Report

March 2019: Making Opportunities for Recovery More Accessible

February 2019: Recovery is Possible

January 2019: Stronger Outcomes Through Collaboration

December 2018: Looking ahead to the 86th Texas Legislature

November 2018: How Tech is Changing the Face of Mental Health

October 2018: A Few Questions Could Help Save a Life

September 2018: Anyone Can Save a Life

August 2018: A Milestone Moment

July 2018: Equity in Mental Health Care for All

June 2018: Expanding Services for Veterans

May 2018: Your Mental Health Toolkit

April 2018: Time of Terror Calls for Increased Emotional Support

March 2018: Stopping the cycle of incarceration for individuals with mental illness

February 2018: Equity in mental healthcare for everyone

January 2018 : Improving Mental Health Through Partnership & Collaboration

December 2017: Strength Through Community

November 2017 : Healthy Lifestyles Improve Well-Being

October 2017 : National Child Health Day

September 2017 : Strengthening Families and Communities