Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Dr. Courtney N. Phillips
HHS Executive Commissioner
Date: Nov. 26, 2019
Contact: Christine Mann, 512-424-6951
Texas HHS Awarded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Grant
$3M Grant Will Connect Texans to Lifesaving Help
AUSTIN – Texas Health and Human Services is receiving a two-year grant of over $3 million from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s State Capacity Building Initiative. The grant will increase the state’s capacity to provide free, confidential, emotional support and services to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
“The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline grant will create more opportunities to offer hope, help and healing to Texans in need of critical services,” said Sonja Gaines, HHS deputy executive commissioner of Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “This grant provides Texans across the state with access to local support and resources needed to ensure those in an emotional crisis get the help they need.”
The purpose of this grant is to assist Texas call centers in answering more calls from residents, reducing wait times and connecting them to local treatment facilities, support and nearby crisis or emergency service centers.
“These funds will further help our efforts throughout Texas in preventing suicides and also encouraging hope. I thank all those who are working valiantly alongside HHSC in curbing suicides among our youth and adults, including our veteran service men and women,” said Rep. Four Price.
Throughout the two years of this Lifeline grant, Texas Health and Human Services will receive more than $1.5 million each year to raise the in-state answer rate for Lifeline calls to 70 percent from a current in-state answer rate of approximately 31 percent. Currently, Texans who call into the Lifeline can be routed to different back-up call centers which may be out of state. This can result in individuals or families not receiving efficient routing to local treatment, support and longer wait times.
“Suicide is a concern for large and small communities across Texas and the nation. We are very thankful that this funding helps our efforts to assist with local suicidal calls,” said Mark Ware, senior director of crisis services of My Health My Resources of Tarrant County. “With the Lifeline Grant, our employees are able to connect callers in our community with local resources to help with immediate needs and effectively impact suicide rates across Texas.”
To help Texans receive access to local resources, Texas HHS will contract with four local mental health authorities to implement the grant in March 2020: The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, Integral Care (Travis County), MHMR of Tarrant County and Emergence Health Network (El Paso County).
For more information on accessing behavioral health services in Texas, please visit https://mentalhealthtx.org/. For people in a crisis and concerned family members, please call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK).
To learn more about suicide prevention and crisis centers, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website and the HHS Suicide Prevention page.