Hogg Foundation Announces 2013 Recipients of Mental Health Policy Project Grants

March 11, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin has awarded $656,000 in grants to fund six projects working toward meaningful, systemic changes in public policy that will advance the mental health of children, youths and adults in Texas.

Each year the foundation selects four to six Texas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to complete a policy project designed by the grantee organization to advance mental health policy.

“As a foundation one of our goals is to improve mental health policy in Texas,” said Hogg Foundation Executive Director Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr. “These grantee-designed projects address important and relevant mental health issues that directly affect the people of Texas.”

We are pleased to announce the following 2013 Mental Health Policy Project Grant awardees:

  • DePelchin Children’s Center ($86,730) – DePelchin Children’s Center will perform a study to assess Step-Down Care, a pilot residential program designed to promote crisis stabilization and avoid costly psychiatric hospitalization of children throughout Texas. DePelchin will also produce a policy brief and recommendations for changes to the Texas Medicaid program to include Step-Down Care as a reimbursable service.
  • Mental Health America (MHA) of Greater Dallas ($121,730) – The proliferation of boarding homes in Texas has made sensible regulation of these facilities a growing priority for local residents, especially those with family members living in such homes. MHA of Greater Dallas has been successful in working for the implementation of guidelines in Dallas. With these grant funds, they will provide technical assistance to surrounding counties for drafting new ordinances. MHA of Greater Dallas will also develop a stand-alone website as a resource for communities interested in pursuing boarding home regulation.
  • Mental Health America (MHA) of Greater Houston ($51,520) – At least 5 percent of children have a serious emotional disturbance that results in significant functional impairments that can affect both home and school activities, and many schools have struggled to meet the needs of these students. MHA of Greater Houston will receive funding for the second year of its School Behavioral Health Initiative, which convened a stakeholder group to develop recommendations to improve the prevention, identification and treatment of behavioral health issues among public school students. MHA of Greater Houston will provide technical and implementation assistance to school districts that agree to adopt the consensus recommendations.
  • Texas CASA ($185,000) – There is a pressing need to improve mental health outcomes for children in the Texas foster care system. Texas CASA will use this grant to increase its mental health expertise, develop evidence-based policy recommendations regarding mental health issues for children in foster care and create effective advocacy for those changes.
  • Texas Fair Defense Project ($52,640) – In the adult criminal justice system, the use of holistic mental health defense teams — multidisciplinary defense teams that include social workers and lawyers with experience representing offenders with mental health conditions — has been shown to reduce recidivism rates. The Texas Fair Defense Project will promote the use of these defense teams to represent juveniles with mental health conditions who are facing criminal charges. They will also work with local jurisdictions to develop new programs to provide holistic defense representation to juveniles.
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) ($159,150) – Serious mental illness among people who are homeless can significantly complicate efforts to aid them. UNTHSC will investigate, advocate and raise awareness about local, state and federal policies that often appear to be misinterpreted and misapplied to the detriment of  individuals who are homeless and have co-occurring conditions. The project will promote policy reform in four key areas: communication gaps, lack of integrated policies, mental health disparities and patient rights.

The Mental Health Policy Project grants were launched in 2008. This is the fifth year of the foundation’s grant initiative to improve local, state and national public policies that affect Texas consumers of mental health services and their families.

The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by supporting mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

For more information, contact: Carrie Dyer.