Category Archives: NAMI Texas

Texas State of Mind Conference


A live conference on mental health issues in Texas featuring:

-The Honorable Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives
-The Honorable Jane Nelson, Chair, Committee on Health and Human Services, Texas Senate
-Dr. Kyle Janek, Executive Commissioner, Texas Health & Human Services Commission
-The Honorable Nathan Hecht, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas

APRIL 16th
Streaming live from
starting at 8:30 a.m.


TJP Jailhouse Stories

This spring 2014, Texas Jail Project is launching a new project called
“Jailhouse Stories: Effects of Pretrial Detention”
which will collect accounts about what happens to people held in county jails before they are tried for a crime. If you have a story about what you or your loved one experienced while in jail, please contact TJP to set up an interview! Contributors can remain anonymous – it’s just important for your voice to be heard. Jailhouse Stories will be shared with media outlets, lawmakers, and social leaders to educate Texas about the need to incarcerate less, create more diversion programs, and improve conditions in local jails.

TO SEND US YOUR STORY, connect at:
Texas Jail Project
call: 512.597.8746
write: 1712 E. Riverside Drive, Box 190; Austin, TX 78741

What is the Texas Jail Project?
Texas Jail Project (TJP) works to ensure healthier, humane conditions in our local jails and advocates for improved accountability for jailers. On an average day, about 67,000 people – mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, sisters, and daughters – are incarcerated in 246 county jails across Texas. Almost 60% of those being held have not been convicted and are being held pretrial. Many must deal with the difficulties of being in jail while also facing the challenges of addictions or mental health disorders.


 DIRECT SUPPORT: TJP receives hundreds of complaints and questions that illustrate ongoing issues and unmet needs in county jails. We try to respond to each, while posting content on our website that provides family and friends with helpful information on how to aid their loved one in receiving fair treatment while they are being held.

 ADVOCACY: TJP represents the concerns of inmates and their families to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) and the Texas legislature, providing feedback on the standards and processes regulating jails. TJP especially seeks to represent those from special populations who need improved care: mentally ill people, women (particularly pregnant inmates), veterans, and substance abusers.

 PUBLIC EDUCATION: Informing the public about county jails is a vital part of bringing positive reform to the current system. TJP has participated in rallies and vigils that help raise awareness of unjust conditions and has contributed articles for various media sources. For years the popular “Inmate Stories” section of our website has educated, validated, and empowered by giving voice to those who have been impacted by the local criminal justice system.

Hill Day 2014 Webinar Series

Topic: Introduction to Hill Day
Date: February 13, 2014
Time: 3 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time
2 – 3:30 p.m. Central Time
1 – 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time
12 – 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time
10 – 11:30 a.m. Hawaii Time
NAMI will be hosting a webinar series in preparation for Hill Day on September 4th, 2014. This webinar will provide an introduction to Hill Day and to the webinar series. The webinar will cover what to expect in your Hill visits, the importance of building a relationship with your legislator and how to establish that relationship.

Speakers: Darcy Gruttadaro, Director, Child and Adolescent Action Center
Jean Moore, Manager, Military Veterans Policy and Support
Registration Instructions:
To register for the webinar you need to click on the link below or copy and paste the link in to your Internet Explorer browser:
Immediately after you complete the registration you will receive a confirmation from If you do not immediately receive a confirmation email please 1) double check to make sure you input your email address correctly when registering and/or 2) check you SPAM mail to see if it went there. If you still are unable to find it, please email me directly and I will send you the log-in information for the webinar.
You will also receive an automatic reminder from Live Meeting one day in advance of the webinar, just in case you misplace the original confirmation notice.
Follow the step-by step instructions sent to you from LiveMeeting to successfully join the webinar.
Step 1. Join the Live Meeting
Join the Live Meeting by placing your mouse cursor and clicking on Join the meeting in the body of the email reminder.
Step 2. Join the Audio Portion
You can hear the presentation by phone or computer:
Computer Audio
To use computer audio, you need speakers and/or a headset.
Phone Audio
Dial the (888) 858-6021 and enter your participant code from your reminder email followed by #
First Time Users: You must install Microsoft Office LiveMeeting on your Computer at least one day in advance of the meeting. Click here for more information.
MAC Users: Download internet browser called Safari at least one day in advance of the meeting and Microsoft Office LiveMeeting on your computer. Click here for more information.
Registration: You must register for the webinar in order to participate. Click here for more information on how to register.
Need Help with downloading LiveMeeting? Contact LiveMeeting Support at 877-283-7062 or
Emily Cepla, MPH
Program Manager, Child and Adolescent Action Center
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
3803 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203
Direct Line: (703) 600-1107

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.”


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.

NAMI State Legislation Report 2013

Some of you may have received this through other lists, but we wanted to make sure you were aware of NAMI’s new State Legislation Report 2013: Trends, themes and best practices in state mental health legislation. Please share with your members and partner organizations. Converging factors placed mental health in the spotlight in 2013, motivating state lawmakers to enact a wave of legislation with implications for people living with mental illness.

As you work on advocacy priorities for 2014 we hope this report will serve as a reference, enabling you to reflect on what happened in your state legislature in the context of other states. The report answers questions you often ask like:
• What are the current trends in state legislation?
• What is happening to state mental health budgets nationwide?
• What states have passed legislation on a specific issue?
• Can you recommend model bills as a starting point to help us draft legislation?
• What legislation should we prepare to defend against that could threaten the interests of individuals and families living with mental illness?

Report Format:
The narrative describes themes and trends, noting states that stand out on particular issues. Appendices are arranged by issue with U.S. maps depicting states enacting related legislation in 2013. Appendix tables provide brief bill summaries with links to actual legislation by bill and chapter number.

Advocate Action:
Gold stars indicate best practice bills with potential for replication or adaptation. Bills posing a potential threat are labeled with a red flag. We recommend approaching your legislative champions to sponsor best practice bills addressing challenges in your state.

This report drew from the survey of state NAMI executive directors, presidents and public policy leaders. We are grateful to those of you who completed the survey and to all who responded to requests for information. Further information was gleaned from state legislature websites and media coverage of mental health issues.

Going Forward
We would love your feedback! Tell us how this report is useful and how it could be improved. Is it valuable enough that we should continue the process annually or every two years? If so, how can we do this better and quicker?

Thank you for all you do for NAMI. We appreciate you and are here to help.

Questions? Contact Sita Diehl, or Jessica Hart,

DSHS Request for Comment – MH Case Mgmt Svcs

The Department of State Health Services has issued a #119 Request for Comment – chapter 416 on rules governing Mental Health Case Management Services. Please see the #119 Request for Comment – chapter 416 for information and instructions on how to access the proposed rules and how to submit comments. These rules are being reviewed by NAMI Texas and any comments we have will be distributed among our email lists. Please note that the deadline for submitting comments is Sunday, October 27th.