Category Archives: Department of State Health Services

SB 44 study of children with a serious emotional disturbance

Please see below for an important message from Dr. Monica Faulkner of the Child and Family Research Institute of the University of Texas at Austin.

“Based on your agency’s work with children and families, I am writing to ask you to help direct parents, caregivers and professionals to our study regarding the needs of children with serious emotional disturbances. The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) have partnered with the Child and Family Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Social Work to conduct a study mandated by the Texas Legislature to examine the needs of families who have a child with a serious emotional disturbance.

As part of our study, we are seeking parents and other stakeholders to participate in an online survey and/or participate in interviews about their experiences. Input from parents will be used to identify existing service gaps and the needs of families. Specific details about our project can be found on our website.

If you have questions about this research, I am more than happy to address any questions or concerns. Please contact me at or (512) 471-7191.

For more information about this project, please visit:



Adult Mental Health Awareness Poetry Contest: Deadline May 2

In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, the Texas Department of State Health Services Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division, Mental Health America of Texas, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – Texas are holding their Third Annual Statewide Adult Mental Health Awareness Poetry Contest open to adults with or in recovery from mental illness and their adult family members and friends.
Last year, more than 80 poems were received from across Texas for the contest, written by those living with and recovering from mental illness, their friends, and their families. Five winning entries were selected, along with six poems given honorable mention.
Children and adolescents interested in participating should submit entries to the Creativity Contest; please see for details.

• Poems should express the experience of living with mental illness, living with a family member with mental illness, or having a close friend with mental illness.
• Entries must be 200 words or fewer.
• Entries must be typed or legibly handwritten.
• Entrants must be Texas residents who are 18 or older as of May 1, 2014.
• The submission deadline is May 2, 2014. All entries must be received on, or postmarked by, May 2, 2014.

Each entry must include the following:
• Name, address, phone number, and e-mail address (if available). We will only contact you if your poem is chosen to ask for your permission to post it online. All entries will be reviewed with respect to privacy and winning entrants may ask that their work be posted anonymously.
• Please submit your poem by email, with your contact information, to, or send by postal mail to:
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Texas Department of State Health Services
RE: Mental Health Month Poetry Contest
Mail Code 2083
909 W. 45th Street
Austin, TX 78751
Prizes and certificates will be awarded to the poems selected as winners, and the top five poems will be announced May 20, 2014, and with the author’s permission, they will be posted on the DSHS MHSA (, Mental Health America Texas ( and NAMI Texas ( websites.

new solitary confinement resources – please share

“The National Alliance on Mental Illness says the TDCJ’s current system of long-term solitary confinement has been shown to cause mental health disturbances, suicide, depression, paranoia, psychosis and other antisocial behaviors. Greg Hansch, the policy coordinator for NAMI Texas, said it fosters an unsafe environment for both inmates and staff. “Sticking with the status quo is alarming,” Hansch said.”


“A dozen advocacy groups — among them, the Texas Defender Service that represents death row convicts, the guards’ union, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Texas Inmate Family Association and various Catholic and interfaith religious groups — are asking for Texas prison officials to allow contact visits with family members, communal recreation activities between death row prisoners, work assignments, participation in group religious services, TV viewing, arts and crafts, and phone calls to family and attorneys.”


“Mental health advocacy organizations such as Mental Health America of Texas and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Texas likewise have described a pressing need for administrative segregation reform. Administrative segregation has been shown to exacerbate mental health disturbances, assaultive and other antisocial behaviors, and chronic and acute health disorders.[3] Psychological effects can include anxiety, depression, anger, cognitive disturbances, perceptual distortions, obsessive thoughts, paranoia, psychosis[4], and increased risk of suicide[5]. The social difficulties and mental health conditions that are related to administrative segregation can also cause severe problems with reentry and reintegration, contributing to the costly problem of recidivism in Texas. In light of recent the Texas Department of Criminal Justice data indicating a significant increase in the number of individuals with mental illness living in administrative segregation, mental health advocates have pinpointed this as a major concern for Texas communities and Texans living with mental illness.”


Behavioral Health Integration Advisory Committee

Please let us know if you have any recommendations related to SB 58 and the Behavioral Health Integration Advisory Committee, which is “charged with addressing planning and development needs to integrate Medicaid behavioral health services, including targeted case management, mental health rehabilitative services and physical health services, by September 1, 2014.”

Recommendations are due by February 5th.

Below is the form being used to collect input by the advisory committee. They are seeking recommendations in the categories of managed care contracts, stakeholders communications, HHSC coordination and oversight, quality measures, integration of behavioral health and physical health services, home health pilots, and miscellaneous recommendations. You are more than welcome to submit comments on your own, or send them to me ( and I can potentially submit them on behalf of NAMI Texas.

I greatly appreciate your review of these materials and your input.

Greg Hansch
Policy Coordinator, NAMI Texas

Behavioral Health Integration Advisory Committee

Public Recommendations Requested


The Behavioral Health Integration Advisory Committee, created by Senate Bill 58 of the 83rd Texas Legislature, is charged with addressing planning and development needs to integrate Medicaid behavioral health services, including targeted case management, mental health rehabilitative services and physical health services, by September 1, 2014.

Provide a list of 5 to 10 recommendations on the 6 recommended categories. Provide this list is to HHSC by February 5, 2014. Submit the list to

List of Categories with Example Recommendation

• MCO Contracts
 Example: Require all MCO’s to authorize services within 30 days.

• Stakeholder communications
 Example: Medicaid recipients should receive information regarding the changes in coverage.

• HHSC Coordination and Oversight
 Example: HHSC to develop a way to better coordinate mental health services across all State Health and Human services agencies.

• Quality Measures
 Example: Measure outcomes of number of hospitalizations for individuals who are receiving mental health rehabilitation services.

• Integration of behavioral health and physical health services
 Example: Make sure billing guidelines are adjusted to allow for integration of behavioral health and physical health services.

• Health Home Pilots
 Example: Choose two areas of the State to implement health home pilots.

• Other
 Example: Please list anything here that doesn’t fit the other categories that you would like to see.

DSHS Request for Information (RFI): Jail-Based Competency Restoration Services

Request for Information (RFI): Jail-Based Competency Restoration Services

ESBD #: 537-14-0006, Issued: December 31, 2013

Response Due: 3:00 PM Central Standard Time on January 17, 2014

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division announce the availability of General Revenue funds to provide jail-based competency restoration services. These include mental health, or co-occurring psychiatric and substance use (COPSD) treatment services, as well as education for individuals found Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST), and are intended to be consistent with competency restoration services provided in State Mental Health Hospital (SMHH) facilities.

This RFI will be used as a research and information gathering tool for preparation of the competitive solicitation. No contracts will be issued as a result of this RFI; however, awards will be made as a result of the future RFP. Do NOT submit a proposal based on this RFI.

Please submit written comments and questions via email using the format outlined in the RFI document.

For complete information and to download the RFI document and any appendices, please visit

Please Complete 5-Question Survey on Mental Health Guide

Prior to the 83rd Texas legislative session, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health published “A Guide to Understanding Mental Health Systems and Services in Texas 2012.” As they prepare to update the guide for the next legislative session, the Hogg Foundation would appreciate your feedback in order to improve the usefulness of the publication. Please take a moment to complete a brief five question survey provided in the link below by December 20th. Your participation is invaluable to ensuring the guide serves as a beneficial reference tool. To access the electronic version of the guide, please visit

Take survey here:

For Public Comment: Draft of Initial Plan for Plan for the Appropriate and Timely Provision of Mental Health Services – House Bill 3793

For Comment: Draft of Initial Plan Plan for the Appropriate and Timely Provision of Mental Health Services – HB 3793

Comments are due December 12 by 5 PM CST

House Bill 3793 (83rd Regular Legislative Session) (“HB 3793”) directs the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to develop a plan to ensure the appropriate and timely provision of mental health services and to allocate mental health outpatient and hospital resources for the forensic and civil/voluntary populations. This initial plan incorporates the elements required by the legislation: Needs, access and availability of services, and allocation of resources, with a separate section addressing issues related to the forensic population. The plan reflects the input and priorities of the HB 3793 Advisory Panel.

The framework reflected in this initial plan will be developed as DSHS works with the HB 3793 Advisory Panel to develop standards and methodologies for implementation. The work to be done includes completing a needs assessment and developing recommendations to address identified needs and barriers, including potential statutory changes. This information will be included in the report DSHS will submit to the legislature and the governor in December 2014.

The draft of the initial plan may be found at The draft is being provided to obtain informal comment. Please submit your comments via email to with the phrase “HB 3793 – Initial Plan – Informal Comment” in the subject line or by U.S. mail to Tamra Boyd, Department of State Health Services, P.O. Box149347, Mail Code 2023, Austin, TX 78714 by close of business (5:00 PM) on December 12, 2013. Please call Tamra Boyd with questions or concerns at 512-206-5056.