The Mental Health Crisis in Harris County

Currently in Harris County we have a population of 4 million people. With the information provided by UTHealth Houston we know at least 10% of our population is documented with mental health struggles. That’s a whopping 400,000 people. That number is bound to be larger as we know there are more individuals who don’t seek help. 

A solution to this is to invest more money into our medical programs focused on mental health as well as investing more funding into our youth, such as safe spaces and therapy programs in schools instead of police. Also providing more resources to communities that need it. 

I believe we should increase the funding being provided to programs that focus on providing for those that are returning to society after serving long sentences in either prison or jail. This would help alleviate a lot of stress with people who are just coming out. Most incarcerated people spend years locked up and end up losing everything to their name. Depending on their experiences while locked up they could easily suffer from PTSD. An amazing program that could benefit from the extra funding and benefit the community is the Community Assistance and Resource Program (CARP). This is a program that focuses on providing assistance to those coming out on bond with a history of mental health concerns as well as Individuals with a behavioral health concern to provide them with resources they need once they are free. 

Another magnificent program that needs more attention is the The Jail Diversion program. The jail diversion program is a program for people with mental health concerns who have been charged with low level offenses. They strive to provide preventive support to the community to reduce incarceration and homelessness recidivism for individuals with serious behavioral illness within Harris County. They also have an aftercare program. Once you’re done with the original program, the after care program will let you continue to receive their benefits for three additional months if you believe you still need them after your original stay. 

WorkForce solutions is another program here in Harris County that provides resources to anybody in the county. It primarily focuses on people in poor situations. Now, this doesn’t help directly with mental health, but we all know how important it is to have someone in your corner constantly pushing you and helping you so you can do and become better. Workforce solutions is that agency. They do fantastic work for the community and they’ve been doing so for years. Now rather it is providing families with resources to get suits by directing them families seeking employment with their Dressed for Success programs, helping you prepare and giving you the means of getting your GED, helping people receive their birth certificates and id’s and helping you in the search for a job, they do all that and more. It’s a shame more people don’t know about these programs.

Written By: Victor Mendoza