Hill Country Community MHMR Center, headquartered in Kerrville and serving 19 counties including Blanco County, has been awarded a $175,000 competitive grant for the provision of Veteran’s Services. Gov. Rick Perry, at the start of the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride Texas, announced the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is awarding $1.75 million in competitive grants for communities to help veterans find access to treatment, expand trauma therapy services and promote peer support for veterans and their families. This round of grants is the next phase of an initiative announced in November to expand and improve mental health support programs for veterans and their families around the state.
“Our veterans and their families make sacrifices every day to protect freedom around the world, and Texas has a deep appreciation for their selfless service,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why I worked with the Health and Human Services Commission, Department of State Health Services and the Legislature to secure $5 million to supplement the $1.2 million from the state budget to expand mental health treatment and support programs for veterans and their families. These grants will help ensure that the men and women returning from combat and their families get the help they need to transition back into civilian life.”
“Our warriors are under tremendous strain as they fight two foreign wars and the global war on terrorism,” Sen. Leticia Van de Putte said. “The physical scars are the easiest to see, but it is often the invisible scars that are the hardest to heal. These grants will show our men and women in uniform that in Texas no one stands alone and no scar goes untreated.”
These grants follow the January release of $2.66 million in non-competitive grants provided by DSHS to the state’s 38 local mental health authorities to initiate or expand community-based peer support groups and coordinate community resources, such as housing and employment, for veterans. The total amount of grants provided to date is $4.4 million. Between the initial funding and the competitive award, Hill Country has been awarded $245,000 for the provision of Veteran’s Services.
“We want to help address the mental health issues that can affect our combat veterans and their families,” DSHS Commissioner Dr. David Lakey said. “One way to do that is to bring veterans together to establish ongoing peer relationships.”
Recipients of the $1.75 million in competitive grants represent areas of the state with high concentrations of military families, and will each receive $175,000 for projects that help veterans and their families find access to treatment. Grants will also be used to expand trauma therapy for veterans, initiate or enhance family-to-family peer services and train veterans to provide peer support. The competitive grant recipients are:
• Center for Health Care Services (serving Bexar County)
• Central Texas Collaborative (20 counties in Central Texas; lead agency is Austin Travis County Integral Care)
• East Texas North Collaborative (41 counties in north East Texas; lead agency is the Andrews Center)
• East Texas South Collaborative (16 counties in south East Texas; lead agency is the Gulf Coast MHMR Center)
• El Paso MHMR Center
• Harris County MHMR Authority
• Hill Country MHMR Center (19 counties in Central Texas)
• Lubbock Regional MHMR Center (five counties in the Lubbock area)
• North Texas Behavioral Health Authority (seven counties in North Texas)
• Tarrant County MHMR Services
Texas remains committed to ensuring that veterans have access to the services and support they need. The state has allocated a total of $6.2 million for the expansion of mental health programs, services and support for veterans. In addition to these grants, nearly $1.2 million was appropriated by the Legislature last session for specialized trauma training for therapists, an online system to help veterans find services and to create a training program for peer-to-peer veteran and family supports. The remaining funds are used for staff, training, monitoring and technical assistance and other mental health projects for veterans in collaboration with Texas Military Forces.
“Hill Country is thrilled about the opportunity to serve our area Veteran’s and their families,” said Linda Werlein, CEO of Hill Country, “It is important that our service men and women know they are not alone as they deal with the emotional trauma and scars they encounter while serving our nation and state. It is an honor and a privilege for Hill Country to have the opportunity to serve them.”
Hill Country Community MHMR Center provides mental health, mental retardation, substance abuse, and early childhood intervention services throughout a nineteen county area of the greater Texas Hill Country. For more information on Hill Country and their services, visit www.hillcountry.org.