*All videos are Closed Captioned on Youtube*
"A male consumer came to our Jail Diversion Center with a long history of substance abuse which was causing multiple problems in his life including difficulty holding a job, strained relations with his loving and supportive family, and repeated homelessness. Staff were working to coordinate transitional housing placement for him, but he left the Center without notice, saying he was going back to stay with family.
He returned the very next day and said that he had made a mistake, and wanted to continue in the Jail Diversion Program. When transitional housing was being coordinated, it was suggested that he consider accepting alternate placement in one of our contracted substance abuse treatment facilities. Although he wasn’t sure about accepting this, he agreed to meet with the Program Director at Pathway to Serenity, Mr. Rodney Owens.
The initial meeting went very well, and the consumer decided he would very much like to enter the Program. He progresses well through the Program, and learned a lot about the debilitating effects of substance abuse and addiction, particularly as they effected his own life goals and stability.
He continued to apply himself on a daily basis, until he graduated successfully from the Program, admitting that he was glad that he had come back to the Center, accepted the initial offer from Jail Diversion, and stayed in course.
He is in very good spirits these days, having decided to stay on at Pathway in their step-down housing Program as he begins working towards a job training program to re-enter the workforce.
Staff at both Pathway and Jail Diversion are very proud of this consumer’s efforts and personal dedication to his own success, and wish him continued success as he moves forward in life with his newfound sobriety, free from the negative effects of addiction."
-Charles Marshall, M.A., QMHP
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.
When D. Danielle Hale, Ph.D., arrived as a new employee at The Harris Center, her first assignment was facilitating a group with male inmates at The Harris County Jail that was part of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Program. Nine years later, Dr. Hale’s list of responsibilities as the now-Lead Psychologist for the Adult Services Program of The Harris Center’s Mental Health Forensic Services Division has grown to include overseeing additional programs in the Jail and the supervision of a dozen employees. However, she continues to facilitate the same group she was first assigned in 2007. According to Dr. Hale, “That’s where my joy is, where my passion is.”
The CBT Program focuses on helping those who participate learn how to better handle everyday situations and choices, something many of these inmates may not get the chance to do otherwise. Housed together in one unit within the Jail, about twenty men are part of the CBT Program at any given time. They are referred to the program by The Harris Center staff providing mental health services in the Jail, Jail staff or they may self-refer. Participants may remain in the program for up to five months while in the Jail, and the ages of those in the program have ranged from 18 to over 60.
The Harris Center Public Affairs team worked with a media crew from the Mental Health Channel to support its efforts to produce a special documentary that highlights the intersection between mental illness and the criminal justice system. A segment of this special features Dr. Regenia Hicks, Director of the Harris County Jail Diversion program
HOUSTON, October 1, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the vulnerability of individuals who are homeless and have mental illnesses. It is not only the unhealthy conditions on the streets that make the unsheltered homeless “at-risk” to COVID-19; most suffer from underlying, chronic health conditions. An estimated 15-25% of individuals experiencing homelessness throughout Harris County and the greater Houston area suffer from severe mental health issues making it difficult for city, county and local partners to quickly assist and house them out of harm’s way. Social distancing requirements have also reduced homeless shelter capacity. These extremely acute individuals have a large impact on first responders and hospitals by routinely requiring emergency intervention. These individuals increase the risk of COVID-19 exposure to first responders and the community
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.
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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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