State Grants Millions to Support Mental Health Initiatives
By David Doolittle

1.25 mental healthAs part of an effort to improve mental health care in Texas, the state has awarded more than $75 million to several local organizations and state facilities, Texas health officials announced recently.

Up to $27.5 million in grants will go to 35 mental and behavioral health authorities in the state, Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) officials said. Another $47.7 million will be used to improve the state hospital system, HHSC said. 

Lawmakers passed more than a dozen bills aimed at mental health during last year’s legislative session, including funding increases of $400 million or more, according to estimates. TMA advocacy, including physician testimony and First Tuesdays at the Capitol, helped bring about many of these victories.

Funding for the local authorities will come from two state programs, officials said. 

One provides $12.5 million through the Mental Health Grant Program for Justice-Involved Individuals, which seeks “to reduce recidivism rates, arrests, and incarceration among individuals with mental illness, and also reduce the wait time for forensic commitments,” officials said. Up to $15 million will come from the Community Mental Health Grant Program, which funds “community programs to expand treatment, promote recovery, and improve quality of life for individuals with mental illness.” 

Those two programs were authorized by bills carried by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) and Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo).

The $47.7 million that will go to state inpatient psychiatric care facilities is part of $300 million that lawmakers approved last year. 

“The initial funding will allow Texas to renovate and architecturally plan for the replacement of existing facilities as well as plan and design a new hospital,” officials said. Projects include:  

  • Renovation projects to expand capacity at the Kerrville and San Antonio state hospitals; 
  • Architectural planning and design of a new hospital and continuum of care campus in Houston; 
  • Architectural planning and design of two new 100-bed units at Rusk State Hospital; 
  • Planning for replacement of the Austin and San Antonio state hospitals. 


Last Updated On

January 25, 2018

David Doolittle


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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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