*All videos are Closed Captioned on Youtube*
The phone rang at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday night at the Crisis Line. Isabella Rowe, a fairly new member of the Crisis Line team, answered the call. The caller shared he was having a really rough time getting through a terrible divorce and was currently homeless. He was feeling desperate and so hopeless that he had thoughts of dying by walking in to traffic earlier that day. Many of these feelings were due to the love he felt for Sanaa, his service dog of 7 years, who helped him due to a seizure disorder. The caller had a really hard time finding a spot in a shelter since most won't take Sanaa. The caller reported feeling increasingly worried about caring for her properly on the street.
Isabella used all her best crisis line skills of empathetic engagement, thorough assessment and knowledge of agency resources to get the ball rolling for this caller. Later, the caller stated that Isabella’s patient and caring voice was a turning point for him on this terrible day, and that he had forgotten people cared and were willing to listen and help.
Isabella staffed the call with her supervisor and they made a referral to MCOT. Jennifer Holman and Chelsea Pumala responded to the scene quickly and were able to continue the active and encouraging engagement. The client called them “his angels.” While Jennifer and Chelsea were on scene supporting the client, behind the scenes MCOT CTL Andrea Addie, MCOT Program Manager Sarah Strang and CPEP Program Director Evelyn Locklin reviewed the agency’s service dog policy to make sure everything that was needed was in place to effectively serve this client.
Jennifer and Chelsea consulted with Jail Diversion and it was determined accessing this program would be the next step for the client that evening. They arrived at Jail Diversion and were welcomed “with open arms and a smooth intake process” for the client and his faithful companion by Shannon Baumbach. Shannon and the Jail Diversion team were able to provide immediate support for the client that evening and also worked to help secure him a longer term placement that would also accept Sanaa.
We celebrate this AMAZING teamwork! It is truly the definition of the agency’s mission of transforming lives.
Anaira noted Maritza’s baby seemed happy and well cared for, but during her observations, she became concerned about Martiza when she noticed changes in Martiza’s self-care.
Anyone who has lived in Houston for a little over a week has come across people who speak a language other than English. As one of the most diverse cities of the world, Houston is home to people from all the continents, and a substantial portion of them are not fluent in English. These individuals make up a significant amount of Harris Center clientele.
The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD received $836,243 from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) COVID-19 Telehealth Program to enhance its telehealth service infrastructure. The FCC received funding for this program through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. The FCC funds will enable The Harris Center to further expand access to behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities services for Harris County residents via telehealth platforms.
During COVID-19, our team adapted quickly to deliver services in the safest way possible for everyone. A spirit of flexibility has been essential.
Maria* presented to therapy with Paula Moore, PsyD at the IDD STARS Clinic due to depression, pervasive anxiety and a preoccupation with protecting herself. She was also diagnosed with mild Intellectual Disability and ADHD. Early on, although cooperative, progress was minimal. After securely establishing rapport, she began to show signs of growth in therapy. She responded particularly well to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Not only was she responsive in therapy, but she also demonstrated a keen ability to follow-through on CBT strategies outside of session.
"Clara* was referred to Peer Services by her SAI and she has been attending peer groups daily for the past year. She came to group to learn coping skills for her schizophrenia and to socialize with her fellow group members. When I met Clara she was having schizophrenic episodes daily and she was very depressed. Clara was also self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to manage her schizophrenic symptoms. She was very good at interviewing for and getting hired at many different companies, however had difficulty keeping a job. Clara felt very lonely and was close with her family but didn’t have many friends.
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The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD strives to provide high quality, efficient, and cost effective services so that persons with mental disabilities may live with dignity as fully functioning, participating, and contributing members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay based on a sliding scale rate schedule.
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