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Cheers, claps and smiles filled the room as participants of the HealthMatters Program received their graduation certificates. This recognition came after individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) completed a 12-week training in which they learned about good nutrition and the importance of increasing exercise.
“The HealthMatters Program is a partnership between the community and academia with a common aim to improve the health of people with developmental disabilities. The program helps persons with disabilities make choices about health, exercise and nutrition,” said ICF-IDD & TxHmL Services Department Director Lily Pan.
Promoting Fitness for All, HealthMatters had a variety of hands-on activities for participants which included exercising, shopping for healthy food items, discussions on nutritional information and others. The program also allowed parents to learn how to support a healthy lifestyle for their loved ones.
“With the hands-on activities, persons with disabilities increase motivation and skills they need to improve their health and make good habits last a lifetime,” Lily said.
The Arc of Greater Houston is the project coordinator and in March of 2016, individuals who attend The Harris Center Gessner Day Program were informed about HealthMatters. Within the Gessner Day Program, individuals participate in community activities like the HealthMatters Program, along with choir practice, the Home Depot Workshop, bowling and the Exercise & Scrapbook Program in the Alief Community Center, just to name a few.
“The Gessner Day Program offers habilitation services tailored to the varied needs of the individuals with a focus on community integration,” said Lily.
Most health promotion activities are usually targeted to the general population, and individuals with intellectual disabilities are left behind.
That is why programs like HealthMatters are highly important in our community. Initiatives like these are to help individuals stay active and involved.
“Persons with low health literacy have higher utilization of treatment services. Improved health education and health literacy is a critical component for persons with intellectual disabilities to gain control over their health and manage chronic conditions,” Lily said.
In addition to this program, The Harris Center offers a variety of other programs that help individuals with IDD. For more information contact the HelpLine at 713-970-7000.
Dancing, flu shots, turkey chili, learning how to use a fire extinguisher as well as bone density exams all in one day? That’s right, The Harris Center’s Wellness department hosted it’s 5th annual Health and Wellness Fair in which employees were able to participate in different activities as well as learn about different resources community partners and vendors had to offer.
Harris County now has a new resource to help keep people with mental illness out of the Harris County Jail. The new Judge Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center provides law enforcement with a community-based alternative for persons with mental illness who have been picked up for low-level, non-violent offenses such as trespass. The Diversion Center celebrated its ribbon-cutting and dedication October 1, 2018 at 9 a.m.
Every October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “The Right Talent, Right Now.” As part of this month’s activities, The Harris Center is highlighting our recent summer internship collaboration with the H.E.A.R.T. Program.For many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), finding jobs out in the “real world” may not always come easy. As part of The Harris Center’s commitment to transform the lives of people with IDD, the agency recently collaborated with the H.E.A.R.T. Program to provide summer internships to individuals with IDD to allow them the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience across our agency’s various programs.
As The Harris Center’s crisis division, the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) provides services to individuals in Harris County experiencing a mental health crisis. From its 24-hour Crisis Line to its internationally-recognized collaborations with law enforcement, the CPEP is constantly working to reach those who need help.
The COVID-19 disaster is having a detrimental impact on the ability of homeless individuals with mental illness to find a safe place to shelter following stabilization and discharge from inpatient crisis psychiatric treatment.
Representative Garnet Coleman proposed utilizing an existing state Healthy Community Collaborations grant to enable three local organizations to provide transition shelter and supporting services for homeless people who have mental illness. The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center and Open Door Mission will join forces to open a 24-hour facility with 28 beds.
The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, in cooperation with Harris County Probate Court 3 and the University of Houston, has received a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program for people with serious mental illness.
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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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