West Texas Mental Health Collaborative
Availability of Mental Health Care in the Local Community
In September 2018, representatives from various community agencies and governmental entities began meeting about the availability of mental health care in the local community. As time passed, the group became more coordinated in their efforts and projects, including adopting the name West Texas Mental Health Partnership. The original agency representatives include high ranking officials from Lubbock County, the City of Lubbock, StarCare Specialty Health System (the local mental health authority [LMHA]), Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC), and both local hospital systems - University Medical Center and Covenant Health System. The steering committee, known as the Founding Partners, includes the original community agency representatives with the addition of the West Texas Community Foundation serving as the convener, Dr. Sarah Wakefield, chair of the TTUHSC Department of Psychiatry, serving as a clinical consultant, and Dr. Nancy Trevino, director of the Texas Tech Mental Health Initiative, serving as the facilitator.
The conversations of this original group began to identify the mental health needs of the Lubbock community. The community agencies formalized their efforts, entering an MOU that commissioned the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to conduct a comprehensive mental health needs assessment of the Lubbock area, focusing on Cochran, Crosby, Hockley, Lubbock, and Lynn counties. The initial efforts of the WTMHC have focused on the areas identified by the Meadow’s needs assessment. The WTMHC is working to improve coordination of mental health services across member organizations and reduce duplication to positively impact the lives of family in the community. The WTMHC collaborative will serve as a bridge to create and expand needed services including counseling services, crisis response, substance use treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and inpatient treatment capacity. This initiative is unlike those of other communities of our size and unique because of the support structure and leadership. The Texas Tech Mental Health Initiative is working to facilitate and support the development of an organizational structure, seeking additional resources, and coordinating and expanding the collaborative efforts of WTMHP for greater access to mental health care and related services within the community.