Summer Campaign Focuses on Mental Health and Developmental Disability Issues
According to the federal government, as many as 17 percent of or more than 4 million Texans have a mental illness, of which 10 percent have a serious and persistent major mental illness. Since 2007, the number of people waiting for mental health services from Austin Travis County Integral Care has tripled from approximately 500 to 1,500. Local research has shown that Central Texas exceeds the state and the nation in the percentage of people reporting alcohol and drug use and dependence and needing but not receiving treatment for alcohol and use, serious psychological distress and major depressive episodes.¹
When it comes to intellectual and developmental disabilities, more than 4,500 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Texas are in nursing homes providing inadequate care, according to The Arc of Texas and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. An estimated total 452,620 Texans live with developmental disabilities. Currently, almost 2,000 people with an intellectual or developmental disability are waiting to receive services at Integral Care, a rate expected to increase with anticipated state budget cuts and proposed closings of state supported living centers.
While advancements are being made for diagnosing and effectively treating mental illnesses and various developmental disabilities, community awareness is limited and misconceptions abound. As part of its strategic efforts, Integral Care launched a summer-long public awareness campaign during Mental Health Awareness Month to promote community-wide understanding of the services Integral Care provides, the people who utilize these services and to increase community support for behavioral health and developmental disabilities issues.
Below is a list of activities that took place during the months of May, June and July.
May: Mental Health Awareness
Our supporters showed our support by following us on Facebook (Austin Travis County Integral Care), YouTube (IntegralCareAustin) and Twitter (@ATCICNews) for “30 Tweets in 30 Days," receiving mental health facts and resources each day during Mental Health Awareness month.
Monday, May 2
“Faces of Care” Public Service Announcement
With the help of local production company Arts + Labor, Integral Care proudly premiered a PSA featuring real staff. To view the PSA and read more about its cast, visit IntegralCare.org or click here.
Tuesday, May 3
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
Integral Care joined a long list of local partners for a day of community engagement and education on the creativity, courage and commitment needed for children to thrive at home, school and in the community when faced with life’s challenges at Seton Administrative Offices (1345 Philomena St.). Partners included: Austin Independent School District, SafePlace, Seton Family of Hospitals, Council on At-Risk Youth, Seton Shoal Creek Hospital, Lifeworks, The Children’s Partnership, Travis County, Integral Care, Child and Youth Mental Health Planning Partnership, Center for Social Work Research, Austin Child Guidance Center, South Texas Art Therapy Association, KLRU, Texas Association for Infant Mental Health, and Communities in Schools.
Thursday, May 24 (5:30 – 7:30 PM)
Budget Community Forum
Dozens of community members joined us for this important quarterly forum in the Large Training Room (1700 S. Lamar Blvd.) to discuss the potential implications of this year’s legislative session for Integral Care and its services. Executive Director David Evans and Charles Harrison, chief financial officer/chief operations officer moderated the forum. Additionally, Integral Care showcased its public service announcement, announcing the start of its summer-long Community Awareness Campaign!
Dr. Jim Van Norman, Integral Care medical director, was featured on "Doc Talk Austin" on My Austin TV, KBVO and who shared information about Integral Care’s various mental health services and programs. "Doc Talk Austin" is a new local television series that features medical news and tips, feature stories on local physicians helping the community overcome various health issues, and the latest medical procedures.
June: Spotlight on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
In June Integral Care focused its efforts to transitional planning, one of the most important issues facing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers.
Friday, June 3
Celebrating Caregivers of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
The vast majority of Texans with developmental disabilities live in their homes and receive care from family members or caregivers. Because caregivers often go unappreciated, Integral Care hosted a special event honoring a small group of caregivers chosen by case managers for outstanding dedication and involvement at the Hilton Austin Hotel. These special individuals received a gourmet meal, access to a variety of resources and special treats, including massages and gift certificates in appreciation of their selflessness and devotion.
Texas Parent to Parent Annual Conference
Texas Parent to Parent, an organization committed to improving the lives of Texas children who have disabilities, chronic illness and/or special health care needs, hosted their annual conference in San Marcos. This conference targeted parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and empowers families to be strong advocates through parent-to-parent supports, resource referrals and education. For more information, visit txp2p.org.
Additional Resources on Transitional Planning
Integral Care produced a variety of resources and information on transitional planning for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including the development of Frequently Asked Questions.
July: Prevention and Wellness
Integral Care featured and promoted a variety of educational programs and opportunities that raise awareness and work to address various health disparities.
July 20, 2011
As part of the Centers for Disease Control’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, Integral Care proudly hosted a national conference for local residential tobacco cessation opportunities as part of the City of Austin “Live Tobacco-Free” initiative. Austin is one of fifty cities across the nation participating in these important efforts to promote healthy communities and support community-based policy and environmental changes directly targeting factors that may harm people’s health. The first conference of its kind, professionals from public housing, community health centers, correctional institutions and substance use and mental health facilities gathered to learn and share information about tobacco-free resources and how to receive technical assistance. Please watch for more information on additional efforts led by the Health and Human Services to end health disparities and the tobacco epidemic. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or read a recap by clicking here.
Wednesday, July 13 & 27
Crisis Chat and Mental Health First Aid Webinar
Integral Care launched its inaugural webinar on Crisis Chat (July 13), a new online chat feature which allows users to access referrals via the Internet, and Mental Health First Aid (July 27), a national program designed to teach the general public key skills to help someone developing a mental health problem or alleviate a crisis situation. The webinars focused on these strategies and field questions from participants about behavioral health.
New Online Tools
IntegralCare.org will launch its newest online resources to make it even easier to navigate the information, services and related information based on individual needs and interest. This includes the launch of an online navigation tool, designed to guide visitors to the appropriate program or service that may be of assistance.
These efforts mark the start of a series of new initiatives to expand outreach and engage new supporters. Integral Care takes pride in being the lead provider of quality, community-based behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities services in Travis County and is committed to building a health community.
¹ Community Action Network