Get an Exclusive Look | Mental Health e-News (January 2017)
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Center for School Behavioral Health Collaborative Focuses on Education and Student Mental Health in 2017
On January 5th, the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston welcomed a record-breaking 110+ educators, child-serving professionals, elected officials and other children’s mental health advocates at its first 
Collaborative Meeting of 2017.
The meeting featured a panel discussion with Donna Bahorich, chair of the Texas Board of Education, and Juliet Stipeche, director of Education for Mayor Turner at the City of Houston, and Jennifer Herrera, program officer for Episcopal Health Foundation, as the moderator. The panel focused on the state of education in Texas, mental health in schools and the legislative session. In addition to the panel, Amanda Siroosian, program director for Childbuilders, presented Primary Prevention: Breaking the Cycle of Abuse--a program that enhances student social-emotional learning and competencies to promote healthy relationship skills, prevent abuse and bullying, and enable the next generation to be nurturing parents.  For more information about the meeting or the Center Collaborative, please contact Janet Pozmantier, Director at  For media inquiries, contact Traci Patterson, Director of Communications at or 713-520-3476.
Team Addresses School to Prison Pipeline

In a team meeting with the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE), the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston discussed ways to enhance its relationship with HCDE and ways the Center can work with them to address
issues related to the school to prison pipeline. 

Pictured: Janet Pozmantier, director (the Center),  Annalee Gulley, director of Public Policy and Government Affairs (MHA of Greater Houston), Lidia Zatopek, director, Alternative Certification Division (HCDE), Gayla Rawlinson, director of Center for Grants Development (HCDE), and Alix CaDavid, director of Grants and Research (MHA of Greater Houston).

Yeager Elementary School (CY-Fair ISD) and Lakewood Church Salute Military Veterans and Service Members
Nationwide celebrations for Veteran's Day ranged from parades to programs to meals in honor of those who served, but the Veterans Behavioral Health Initiative at MHA of Greater Houston honored veterans and service men and women this year with area students and the faith community.

As part of their study of the U.S. military, students in 3rd-5th grades at Yeager Elementary School were led through a kid-friendly, military cultural competency workshop with Tony Solomon, director of Veterans Behavioral Health at MHA of Greater Houston, and Richard Walters, 
Navy Veteran and VBHI volunteer and mentor. T'Liza Kiel, program manager of Veterans Behavioral Health at MHA of Greater Houston followed up by serving as the keynote speaker for the Veterans Day event where U.S. Senator John Cornyn recognized Yeager Elementary and MHA of Greater Houston for their veterans awareness efforts.
Kiel also joined Lakewood Church as keynote speaker for, "Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Veterans.," an event where she offered personal accounts of her own post-war trauma and recovery.

She also shared the importance of post-duty veterans getting involved with their local veteran community to connect with available resources and to improve their mental health and wellness. For more information on Veterans Behavioral Health at MHA of Greater Houston, contact T'Liza Kiel at 
MHA of Greater Houston Selected as a TPC Group Charity of Choice

TPC Group presented Mental Health America of Greater Houston with a check for a portion of the proceeds raised at the 2016 TPC Group Annual Charity Golf Tournament that will benefit the Veterans Behavioral Health Initiative. Sara Cronin and
TPC Group recognize the importance of the health and wellbeing of veterans and the many ways Veterans Behavioral Health at MHA of Greater Houston supports the needs of veterans and their families in the Greater Houston/Gulf Coast region. Learn More:

Pictured: Susan Fordice, president and CEO, MHA of Greater Houston Sara Cronin, director, Corporate Communications & Government Affairs, TPC Group, Tony Solomon, director and T'Liza Kiel, program manager of Veterans Behavioral Health at MHA of Greater Houston.

TCOLE De-Escalation Training Helps Keep Law Enforcement Officers and Veterans Safe 
As military veterans transition into civilian life, most are able to successfully reintegrate, but some are challenged with mental health concerns such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This serious mental health concern can cause some veterans to re-live or have flashbacks causing them to experience extreme emotional and physical reactions and feel as though the trauma or experience is happening again. In some cases, these veteran service men and women may become engaged with law enforcement officials. Proper training in de-escalation tactics
 can enhance officer and civilian safety. 

Veterans Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston is educating officers with the City of Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Department in Texas Commission on Law Enforcement or TCOLE:
 Training-Trauma Affected Veterans. 

This intensive, veteran-specific de-escalation training gives officers a basic understanding of U.S. military culture, mental health trauma, triggers and stressors, and an analysis of law enforcement de-escalation techniques to use when encountering veterans in crisis. The course is structured around 16 hours of lecture, videos, and class dialogue and 8 hours of role play, hands-on practice to build an officer's confidence when encountering a veteran in crisis.

The training also explores military trauma and its correlation to veteran suicide statistics as well as conducts live simulations of veterans in crisis situations utilizing veteran volunteers from throughout Greater Houston. For media inquiries, contact Traci Patterson, Director of Communications at or 713-520-3476.

Picture 1: T'Liza Kiel, Program Manager of Veterans Behavioral Health at MHA of Greater Houston, facilitates a TCOLE training at the Harris County Sheriff's Training Academy in Humble.  Picture 2: T'Liza Kiel with officers from the Houston Police Department at the Houston Police Officer's Union Breckenridge Porter Building.
Rep. Coleman Discusses Women's Mental Health Policy with YCMF Learning Community

At the December 16th, Yates Children Memorial Fund (YCMF) Learning Community meeting, State Representative Garnet Coleman discussed women's mental health policy with some of the area's leading mental health and primary care professionals.  As the group prepares to advocate for stronger legislation to address issues associated with perinatal
mental illness, primarily postpartum depression, Coleman says, "this is going to be a long, hard fight for mental health, but don't give up.  Find a champion for this cause and get ready for a tough session."
Kellogg Foundation Funds Two Year Grant for PPD Among Latina Moms

The University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work received a two year grant for research on Latina moms and post-partum depression.

The $500,000 grant will create the Latina Maternal and Family Health Center at the University of Houston. McClain Sampson, assistant professor with the college understands the importance of a mother's mental health but also the subsequent cultural stigmas
placed on Latinas who are battling this illness. Along with language barriers and limited access to healthcare, Latina moms are at a greater risk of PPD.

As Sampson states, “This project is meant to address that disparity. These sessions will be about problem solving, so that moms can be pro-active." Her team will form a focus group that will learn more about her intervention project, PST4PPD, and receive home-based intervention with community health workers. For more:
A Children's Agenda: Legislative Briefing in Houston

MHA of Greater Houston, along with Doctors for Change, Houston Food Bank and Houston ISD, co-hosted A Children's Agenda: Legislative Briefing on November 17 at United Way of Greater Houston.
Facilitated by Children At Risk, the briefing served as a springboard of ideas for Houston's legislative community focusing in on education, nutrition, physical and mental health. Annalee Gulley, director of Public Policy and Government Affairs at MHA of Greater Houston, presented on mental health and school behavioral health. Leading with the theme, "helping teachers helps students," Gulley informed attendees that the major focus of this session will be on training in mental health, including de-escalation techniques and trauma identification. She went on to say that MHA of Greater Houston will also pursue legislation requiring behavioral health professionals to be made available on school campuses and for the adoption of Social Emotional Learning curriculum standards by the State Board of Education.
Former MHA of Greater Houston
Betsy Schwartz Fellow Recognized by
Be Vocal

Teaming up with Getty Images and photographer Shaul Schwarz, Be Vocal: Speak Up for Mental Health created The Be Vocal Collection to reframe how mental health is portrayed
by showcasing 10 people living with mental health conditions.  Yvonne Mendoza, an inaugural Betsy Schwartz Fellow, is one of the featured mental health advocates. Mendoza, a first generation Mexican-American discussed how her personal experiences with depression provided perspective in her career as an elementary school social worker and small business owner.  See Yvonne's story at
It's Time for the
2017 Children’s Mental
Health Art Contest

Join us for the 3rd Annual #HTXMentalHealth Children’s Art Contest in recognition of National Children’s Mental Health Day (May 4th) and National Children’s Mental Health Week and Greater Houston Children’s Mental Health Day (May 7 - May 13, 2017). 

The 2017 contest begins January 4th, and the deadline for submissions is April 1st

Contest rules and entry information can be found on
the contest website 

This year’s contest theme is, “How I Feel About Myself.” The contest is open to all children ages 5 – 14 in the Greater Houston area. This is an opportunity for children to learn about mental health and have conversations to enhance their understanding and comfort speaking about mental health. Children are encouraged to create and submit original art based on their understanding of mental health and the theme.

The contest also provides parents, and others who work with youth, general information on children’s mental health to help them recognize signs and symptoms of concerns and identify area resources should they need them.

Winners of the #HTXMentalHealth Children’s Art Contest will receive prizes and awards, recognition at a reception in their honor, have their artwork displayed in a children’s art gallery and also in a digital art gallery. 
Click here to see highlights of the 2016 Contest.  For more info, contact Traci Patterson at or 713-520-3476.
Join Us for a Special
Screening of Newtown

Newtown chronicles the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of school children in American history: a shooting that took the lives of 20 elementary school children and 6 educators in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012. 
Tuesday, February 21st
4-7 pm
University of Houston
Graduate College of Social Work
3511 Cullen Blvd
| Houston, TX 77204 

Following the screening of Newtown, join the Graduate College of Social Work in a panel discussion to explore the impact of traumatic events on children’s mental health and to prepare for the 85th Texas Legislative Session by learning
about mental health policy priorities for which to advocate. For more information, RSVP at

Committee on Aging Now Has
A Monthly eMail

(Effective January 2017) The Committee on Aging at Mental Health America of Greater Houston will take a pause from its bi-monthly meetings this year. Instead, the committee will distribute an informational monthly email will be sent out to members and others interested in the mental health of older adults.
The informational email will consist of news, research, upcoming events and training that are relevant to older adults and those who work with the older adult population. If you are interested in receiving the monthly Mental Health and Aging informational email, please contact Tiffany Ross, Director of Education and Outreach at
Learn More, Register or Participate in an Event

MHA of Greater Houston is your one-stop resource for mental health education and training, and advocacy events. 

January 12:  
Membership Meeting: “What You Need to Know About the 85th Texas Legislative Session”

January 23-25:
TCOLE: Trauma Affected Veterans Training

February 21: Newtown Film Screening

March 17: YCMF Collaborative Meeting

Print, Order and Share Mental Health Resources 

The Guide is a listing of mental health resources in Greater Houston and Harris County that are low-cost and/or affordable. It features resources for Children/Adolescents, Adults, Older Adults/Elderly and Veterans, and identifies several resources for Spanish speakers. The Guide is widely used and distributed by schools, hospitals, clinics, mental health professionals and call centers.  
Click on a Logo Below for More Resources and Help
Making A Difference in Mental Health

Mental Health America of Greater Houston,
a United Way of Greater Houston agency since 1958, enhances the mental health of all Houstonians and improves the lives of those with mental illnesses through collaboration, education, outreach and advocacy. 
Copyright © 2016 Mental Health America of Greater Houston, All rights reserved.

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