In this section:
Texas Health Behavioral Health (THBH) provides evidence-based treatment for depression, anxiety, stress, serious mental illness and substance abuse. Its counselors support adults and adolescents at 18 behavioral health facilities.
Clinical leaders evaluate community behavioral health needs and service gaps by reviewing emergency department visits and Texas Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment. They also collaborate with community providers and agencies across Dallas-Fort Worth on ways to improve the mental well-being of the communities we serve.
Recognizing the stigma and other obstacles many people face when accessing mental health and substance abuse treatment and services, licensed counselors perform free assessments that can be completed in-person or virtually from the comfort and privacy of home. These virtual capabilities enable counselors to rapidly assess people in emergency departments, conduct intensive outpatient program group therapy with consumers who were unable or unwilling to attend in person and complete intake evaluations from home.
Additionally, Texas has seen a significant increase in suicide mortality, especially in the last few years. To help address the state’s suicide epidemic, every individual seen at Texas Health’s emergency departments, day surgery centers or admitted to or transferred to inpatient units is screened using the Universal Suicide Risk Screening Program evaluation. The screening directs at-risk individuals to the support they need. Since the program’s inception, Texas Health has completed risk screening for more than 2 million encounters.
Texas Health Behavioral Health aims to help consumers manage issues before they need costly emergency care or inpatient support. The team is focused on:
- Expanding access to substance abuse treatment and services as Texas Health continues to see high rates of opioid and alcohol abuse. An estimated 11.3 million people in Texas were living with substance use disorders, according to a 2020 survey.
- Further reducing barriers to initial behavioral health evaluations and expanding access to outpatient services.
- Supporting the high number of people who continue to experience anxiety and depression due to the pandemic.
For inpatient care, THBH remains focused on keeping patients safe from harm by training care teams to use safety tools, practices, restraints and isolation if needed.
Along with other areas of the health system, THBH is responding to the nationwide shortage of mental health providers by shifting non-clinical clinical work to other team members, providing stress-relief and emotional support resources, and engaging with academic institutions to increase the pipeline of future behavioral health specialists.
Texas Health Behavioral Health:
- Made it easier for consumers to schedule appointments, receive reminders and participate in virtual evaluations, which helped more people access needed services. Evaluations conducted via telehealth were up 45% compared to 2021.
- Reduced incidents of violence in behavioral health inpatient units by 31%; the rates of using restraints and seclusion also declined.
- Completed suicide risk screening in 695,111 patient encounters, allowing it to deliver timely interventions.
- Transitioned to an iPad-based rounding platform that enabled staff to monitor safety compliance in real-time. This helped THBH achieve a 79% reduction in serious safety event rates.
Texas Health is grounded in the belief that integrating faith, spirituality and medicine can enhance treatment and healing. We implement this in many ways, being mindful of respecting and welcoming the diversity of religious faiths and the diverse ways people nurture their spirits.
As a faith-based, nonprofit health system, it is our social responsibility to improve the welfare of our communities through outreach.
To guide members of faith communities who are experiencing difficulties, Texas Health brought together its Faith & Spirituality Integration and Behavioral Health teams to develop a free virtual seminar series for pastors, ministers and their staff. Each quarter, we deliver education, tools and resources to faith leaders so they can help members of their congregations regain control over their lives.
For example, after seeing unusually high numbers of alcohol-related emergency room visits and deaths during the pandemic, we taught nearly 50 faith leaders how to identify people struggling with alcohol misuse so they could be guided to support. We also hosted sessions on suicide risk and prevention, anxiety and depression and substance abuse.
These seminars provide practical tools for recognition and intervention and share community resources for treatment.