a monthly newsletter from Integral Care [printfriendly]

October: With Collaboration Comes Innovation


A Message From Our CEO

Living with a serious mental illness (SMI) can make it difficult to function in daily life and contribute to the community. Regular engagement in specialized person centered treatment can positively impact health, reduce alienation from family and friends, homelessness, and involvement with the criminal justice system.


Integral Care recently launched a new Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program. This innovative program uses practical, evidence-based interventions to improve adherence to mental health treatment for individuals with SMI who experience multiple episodes of hospitalization or incarceration. AOT is a collaboration between Integral Care, Travis County Probate Court, Travis County Clerk’s Office and Dell Medical School’s Department of Population Health at the University of Texas at Austin.


Studies show that by improving engagement in treatment services, AOT reduces arrests, hospitalization and incarceration of individuals living with SMI by approximately 70%. These interventions save taxpayers 50% of the cost of care and most importantly improve the quality of life for individuals living with SMI. And, AOT ultimately helps participants reach their full potential and engage more fully in their communities.


Through this program, the Travis County Probate Court, presided over by Judge Guy Herman, which has primary jurisdiction over mental health hearings, will place individuals in court-supervised treatment while they continue to live in the community. Integral Care will monitor the individual’s treatment plan and help ensure their ongoing participation in the AOT program, facilitating their transition from inpatient hospitalization to community-based care through proactive relationship building, case management, therapy, medication, drug and alcohol treatment, housing support and other services that support and maintain recovery. These tools will establish a foundation so clients have the stability to adhere to their treatment.


This program will be funded by a U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant award of $1 million per year, over the next 4 years. Other AOT collaborators include Austin State Hospital, Disability Rights Texas, Housing Authority of the City of Austin, NAMI Central Texas, Austin Lakes Hospital, and Travis County Sheriff’s Office.


Progress happens when collaborators from different sectors come together to provide the building blocks of health for everyone in our community. Together, we will construct a framework of well-being through identification, referral, specialized services and treatment of over 200 program participants who are weathering life’s storms. 


David Evans
Chief Executive Officer


Updated Strategic Plan


Significant events of 2020 – a global pandemic and a renewed call for equity and justice for people of color –  are impacting communities at every level. Integral Care recently revised the FY20-22 Strategic Plan to incorporate shifts Integral Care will make in response to these changing conditions and priorities in our community.


A clear and urgent next step forward is to eradicate institutional racism and structural inequities. Integral Care’s Board/Staff Task Force on Racial Equity will identify, correct and monitor the organization’s progress in creating a culture of racial equity, inclusion and belonging. This work intersects all 16 areas under our 3 foundational principles which will guide our work for the coming years. It is also essential that we remain alert and responsive as the healthcare environment shifts due to issues brought about by the pandemic. Read the full Strategic Plan here.

Collaborator Highlight: Travis County Probate Court & Dell Medical School

Integral Care is proud to collaborate with Travis County Probate Court, Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin and Travis County Clerk’s Office to establish an Assisted Outpatient Treatment program in Travis County. According to the Honorable Guy Herman, “The Probate Court has been attempting to establish an assisted outpatient treatment program for nearly ten years.”


Judge Herman is a true advocate in our community. For decades, he has championed the interests of individuals living with mental health issues in Travis County. As the local Probate Judge, he is responsible for determining if and when an individual must be committed involuntarily for psychiatric care. In this role, he has seen firsthand the needs of individuals experiencing mental illness. He has continually advocated for improving access to services and improving our local service delivery system. When Integral Care opened a short term, emergency psychiatric crisis care facility in 2017, it was only natural that the building was named in his honor. The Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care provided care for 921 adults in FY19.


Collaborations with Dell Medical School began the year the school opened in 2016. Together, we launched the Mood Treatment Center where we’ve leveraged our combined skill sets, expertise and knowledge to support individuals living with bipolar disorder. Our innovative “B Team” works together to successfully connect hospitalized individuals with opioid use disorder to ongoing medication assisted therapy in the community. Last year, we joined forces with Dell Medical School and CommUnityCare to bring an integrated model of health care to the homeless population. The Mobile Medical Mental Health Care Team provides integrated healthcare to people at campsites and bridge underpasses – anywhere someone needs care. Several Integral Care staff serve as faculty for Dell Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry and many Dell Medical School Psychiatrists have joined the Integral Care team in various clinical, research, and policy roles. Integral Care’s Associate Medical Director Dr. John Nguyen is the newly appointed Director of the Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program. Multiple research to practice collaborations are also underway.


Now, we are honored to collaborate with Dell Medical School on yet another innovative program, which will ensure people living with serious mental illness (SMI) are able to access and maintain the treatment they need. “Collaborating with Integral Care to help improve the lives of persons living with SMI brings us one step closer to creating a more just and equitable community for all,” said Virginia A. Brown, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health.


We are grateful for all of our wonderful collaborators here in Austin-Travis County. Together we are committed to building a healthier and stronger community for all.

What’s New at Integral Care

  • In September, Austin City Council approved an additional $1.3 million in funding for Integral Care’s Expanded Mobile Crisis Outreach Team (EMCOT). These funds will add 7 staff to the 911 call center for a total of 11 Integral Care clinicians who are able to answer mental health calls, now 24/7. When someone in our community is experiencing a mental health emergency, it is a healthcare emergency. Integral Care’s EMCOT brings specialty health care response to mental health emergencies, connecting individuals with appropriate services while diverting them from emergency rooms, jails, and involuntary commitment. Integral Care clinicians at the 911 Call Center means people in crisis get connected to specialized care more quickly. EMCOT can resolve the issue on the phone, dispatch a mobile team anywhere someone needs help, redirect the call to other First Responders if necessary, or provide telehealth support to First Responders in the field.
  • In case you missed our recent community forum, Addressing the Rise of Drug and Alcohol Use During Uncertain Times, the hour-long recording is available here.
  • We encourage you to review and circulate our quick guide to Mental Health Support for Children, Families & School Personnel. It includes all of our services for this these groups, including trainings we offer.
  • A Community Impact article featured the importance of Integral Care’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline during COVID-19.


August 2020: A Back to School Season Like Never Before

July 2020: Minority Health Disparities & COVID-19

June 2020: Stronger Together

May 2020: Surviving and Thriving During Uncertain Times

April 2020: Persevering During COVID-19

March 2020: Collaborations and Initiatives to Improve Health for the IDD Population

February 2020:Solutions to Health and Health Care Disparities

January 2020: Sucicide Prevention a Local Effort

December 2019: A Year of Thriving Care & Collaboration

November 2019: Teamwork and Collaboration Impact Homelessness in Travis County

October 2019:Making Strides for World Mental Health

September 2019: Taking Steps to Recovery Support

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