Mental Health Task Force
In 2014, the McKenna Foundation established a Mental Health Task Force with the goal of identifying community needs, gaps in services, and ultimately developing a comprehensive list of funding priorities related to mental and behavioral health. Twenty-nine provider agencies as well as city and county officials participated in the series of meetings, which culminated in a written plan outlining a shared vision, goals and commitments to carry forward the enthusiasm of the initiative.
Task Force Achievements
The mobile crisis outreach team (MCOT) is a nationally proven, evidence-based program serving our neighbors in crisis and saving community resources by reducing the burden on law enforcement, hospitals, school districts and others by providing a team of mental health professionals to respond and intervene in psychiatric emergencies.
- Decreases suicide completion
- Increases safety and access to care
- Increases housing stability
- Increases employability
- Provides psychiatric outreach and reduces psychiatric hospitalizations
treated & returned
to the community without in-patient hospital stay
Within its first year, MCOT responded to over 1,000 crisis calls in Comal County, with most calls resulting in safety plans as opposed to in-patient hospitalizations. Over half of the people treated were able to return to the community via follow-up services.
Signs of Suicide (SOS)
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of youth exhibiting mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression. As youth navigate the often difficult path of adolescence, these mental health issues, especially depressive episodes, significantly increase the risk of youth committing self-injury, having suicidal ideations and actually completing suicide.
Programs that identify youth experiencing depression, self-injury and suicidal ideation in its early stages, as well as provide services to assist students as they navigate this often difficult and lonely path, are critical. The Signs of Suicide (SOS) program is an evidence-based practice that serves to identify depression in youth in its early stages and encourages youth to talk to adults about depressive feelings and encourage others to get help. Depression is treatable and as a community, we need to provide these resources for our youth.
at critical risk
reported suicide attempt in the past
in need of mental health services
Fortunately, Communities in Schools of South Central Texas (CIS) adopted the SOS program in 2016 to serve students of New Braunfels and Comal Independent School Districts. The McKenna Foundation supported the SOS assessment in both districts as well as therapeutic counseling for students in need. CIS screened 5,209 students in the two local school districts in the 2017-2018 school year.
Inspired by the Mental Health Task Force, Mental Advocacy Partners – New Braunfels (MAPNB) is both an online and face-to-face resource for those affected by mental health struggles. The goal of MAPNB is to provide an accessible, confidential connection between those in need and the professionals at partner organizations who provide help and hope. The partners share resource materials, coordinate services and plan community-wide mental health events. MAPNB.org and several social media pages are maintained by the partners spreading a positive message of recovery and working to reduce the stigma associated with mental health struggles.