The coast of Texas suffered a major blow from Hurricane Harvey. The Coastal Bend has been the leader in compassion and recovery. People from across the state have come together to help each other clean and begin the rebuilding process. Along with helping physically, several State and private entities in Texas are helping residents recover mentally.

The Hurricane Harvey Task Force on School Mental Health Supports was established to provide resources and help Texas schools and universities in hurricane-effected areas. The entities involved in the Task Force include: Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), Texas Health and Human Services Commission (THHSC), and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI). These organizations have come together to create a comprehensive list of support and resources to address the mental health needs of staff, students, and families in the hurricane-effected areas.

The resources are tailored and coordinated by the Task Force to fit the needs of each community. The MMHPI has/continues to identify the need of services for each area. They are also responsible for recruiting/coordinating providers and key stakeholders of proper resources to each community. The providers include local mental health organizations, primary care providers, psychiatric, counseling, volunteer groups, and more.

The TEA worked with federal, state, and local agencies to compile a comprehensive list of resourceful webpages to be utilized by the school systems, staff, students, and families. These webpages include: Counseling and Crisis Intervention Services; School Personnel Training and Classroom Resources; Special Populations; Community and General Resources; and more. You and find the links to these resources at Rebuild Texas.

Mental health resources can also be found at Local Mental Health Authorities’ (LMHAs) Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC). Each LMHA serves a local area. The THHSC requires each LMHA to plan, coordinate, allocate, and develop resources for mental health services that will serve their respective population best. The LMHAs provide: referrals to behavioral health services, psychiatric crisis response through hotlines 24/7, and mobile crisis outreach teams. You can search for your LMHA at Texas Health and Human Services.

The TEA posted a “crosswalk” of all information for Local Mental Health Authorities by county and school district. The LMHA for Nueces County is the Behavioral Health Center of Nueces County. You can access their services and resources at Behavioral Health Center of Nueces County., you can call 361-886-6900, or you can go 1630 S. Brownlee Blvd. Corpus Christi, Tx 78404. Several other counties near us fall under the Coastal Plains Community Center LMHA. The available resources and locations for the surrounding counties can be found at Coastal Plains Community Center. Or you can call the Coastal Plains Community Center for information at 1-888-819-5312.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672