a monthly newsletter from Integral Care

December: A Year of Thriving Care & Collaboration


A Message From Our CEO

Some of the top issues facing our community were brought into clear focus in 2019 – homelessness; diverting people with mental illness, substance use disorder, and intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) from incarceration into care; our children’s mental health and the ongoing importance of raising awareness and reducing the stigma surrounding behavioral health.


In addition to providing a comprehensive array of services this year, Integral Care’s planning efforts and leadership roles in collaborative coalitions helped ensure a local service plan with robust services for Travis County. We are proud of the great strides we have made as a service provider and Local Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority that improved health and well-being for our community.


Let’s look back at some highlights from 2019.


Reducing Homelessness

  • In September, we opened Terrace at Oak Springs, Austin’s first Housing First apartment community, providing a new home to 50 people experiencing chronic homelessness. It features an integrated primary and mental health care clinic (for residents and the surrounding neighborhood), opening in 2020.
  • Employment opportunities can help prevent homelessness. Through our employment services, we helped 155 adults, transition-aged youth and people living with IDD secure and keep jobs that matched their interests. Watch Richard’s success story.

    Watch a supported employment success story

Community Collaborations Diverting People from Incarceration 

Integral Care staff with EMCOT partners

  • The City of Austin increased funding for the Expanded Mobile Crisis Outreach Team, adding 6 full time employees. This month, clinicians will start taking calls in the 911 Call Center. In July, a new telehealth tool launched for first responders, helping them immediately connect people in the community experiencing a mental health crisis with our clinicians – via an iPad.
  • We trained over 2,500 first responders and criminal justice partners on how to help people in our community experiencing a mental health crisis or living with IDD.
  • The launch of our Recovery Navigation Services in February and successful collaboration with Travis County Health and Human Services is proving a 94% decrease in criminal justice involvement for clients with substance use disorders.
  • The IDD-Mental Health Criminal Justice Collaborative worked with the Travis County District Attorney Office and other criminal justice partners to divert 4 people with IDD with felony charges from jail back to the community. The Collaborative is currently staffing 11 felony cases.

Children’s Mental Health

  • Believing that foster families and youth can be successful with the right support, we launched the Safe Landing program  with child-placing agencies. The new program offers in-home child and family counseling, parent coaching, help creating a safety plan and mental health crisis response.
  • 29 therapists supported the mental health of approximately 500 students per month on 35 elementary, middle and high school campuses. Crisis triage therapists in Manor and Del Valle Independent School Districts saw incredible outcomes – 82% of crisis situations they responded to were resolved without a trip to the hospital.
  • Kids Living Well, co-chaired by Integral Care, brought the community together to agree on protocols for children’s mental health crisis response. They created materials to help parents navigate a crisis and post-crisis. (Kids Living Well is the planning body for children’s mental health in Travis County.)

Raising Awareness & Reducing Stigma

Keynote speaker Loretta Claiborne at HUB Learning Conference

  • We convened over 900 people at conferences and community forums, including the HUB Learning Conference for IDD and the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference. Our community forums focused on housing as a social determinant of health and improving criminal justice outcomes for people with IDD.
  • Our Mental Health First Aid team trained almost 2,500 people from government agencies, businesses, churches, libraries and more to help friends, neighbors, customers or colleagues who might be struggling with a mental health issue – bringing us to over 10,000 trained in our community since 2006.
  • We expanded our staff of peer support specialists (people with valuable lived experience) to 30, and launched a peer support newsletter, distributed in our clinics and residential settings.

Integral Care continues to grow and innovate to ensure a continuum of care meets the needs of our diverse community. In September, we launched a new Strategic Plan to guide us through the next three years. As we close out 2019, we look forward to another decade of Healthy Living for Everyone.


David Evans
Chief Executive Officer



“I felt like there were no choices left but to use. But when I came to Integral Care, I knew I’d come to the right place.”
– Jane, ThriveCare client


Navigating a path to treatment and recovery is a challenge. The willingness to manage or stop substance use is one hurdle. Then, people can face barriers to getting and maintaining the care they need – like paying for treatment or getting to appointments. That’s where ThriveCare is filling a critical gap in our community.


ThriveCare increases access to substance use treatment and helps individuals in our community recover. Made possible by a grant from Travis County Health and Human Services (TCHHSC), it is a collaboration between Integral Care and TCHHSC.


A woman named Jane recently came to our Psychiatric Emergency Services clinic. She was in withdrawal and ready to change her life, but unsure of where to turn for help to address her opiate addiction. She met with an Integral Care Recovery Navigation counselor that evening. Thanks to ThriveCare, she was able to get a next-day appointment for medication-assisted therapy with a provider in our local network. Before her first dose of buprenorphine, the Integral Care team stayed in contact with her and ensured that she got to that critical first appointment.


“I knew I had come to the right place because they listened to me and didn’t act like it was something out of the ordinary to help with. It was like they said ‘oh yeah, you came to the right place. This is our specialty.”


Since the collaboration’s inception in March, 68 individuals have been connected to treatment delivered by a community provider in our network or at Integral Care. The outcomes are overwhelmingly positive and far exceed the numbers TCHHSC expected.



ThriveCare is helping high-risk populations navigate a complex problem (and often an equally complex system). No matter what the level of need – inpatient detox, residential treatment, intensive outpatient – the collaboration is proving that everyone has the potential to recover from substance use disorders with the right tools and ongoing maintenance.

Funder Highlight

Could Austin become the healthiest community in the world? St. David’s Foundation (SDF) envisions it, and with their generous support, monumental achievements are possible. Over the last eight years, SDF has given Integral Care considerable grant funding – in excess of $15 million.


In 2013, SDF initiated the evolution of the Judge Guy Herman Center for Mental Health Crisis Care. The Foundation convened experts and organized a field trip for local mental health stakeholders to visit the best practice model being used in Lufkin, Texas. The consensus was that a similar short-term emergency psychiatric crisis care center was exactly the solution Travis County needed to enhance crisis services. SDF began working with key partners (Integral Care and Central Health) to develop this community solution to what had been a long-standing problem. They continue to support the operations of the Herman Center (now in its third year providing stabilization, assessment and treatment for adults experiencing mental health crises).


St. David’s believes mental health is fundamental to health. Our investments fill critical gaps and are designed to create a stronger continuum of mental health care. Our continued support for Integral Care exhibits our commitment to fully leveraging the important role Local Mental Health Authorities have in ensuring that accessible, high quality mental health services are available to everyone in our community.– Kim McPherson, Senior Program Officer


Thanks to over $1 million in funding from SDF, Integral Care’s Mental Health First Aid training is free to anyone living in Travis County, Williamson County (in partnership with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services) and other parts of Central Texas. Over 4,500 Central Texans have taken the training through the SDF grant over the past few years, saving lives and reducing stigma around mental illness and substance use disorder. Other essential projects funded by St. David’s Foundation include Integral Care’s new clinic at 3000 Oak Springs, which will provide essential mental health, substance use disorder, and primary care services to residents and eligible adults in the surrounding community.


Integral Care is grateful to the St. David’s Foundation for their tremendous support. Thank you for working every day to build community health and transform the lives of Central Texans, so that everyone has the tools to reach their full potential.

What’s New at Integral Care


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