AUSTIN, Texas — This week, U.S. House Rep. Lloyd Doggett secured $1 million for mental health training across Travis County.
The program will be in partnership with Texas State University (TXST), which will help lead the training of a new tool practitioners can use.
The COVID-19 pandemic helped shine a light on mental health struggles worldwide. Whether it's students, elderly populations or young adults, many began to open up about what they've been going through.
Doggett wants to make sure mental health providers aren't forgotten about.
"Many of our mental health providers themselves have been stressed out by the challenges, the overwhelming challenges that they have been dealing with," he said.
Doggett announced that the federal government will send $1 million as a direct federal appropriation to TXST to help roll out training for a new database.
In that database will be information collected during last year's community health assessment. Mental health professionals will be able to use the information in that database to better understand the mental health needs of their patients.
"This database will outline also the various social determinants that come into play here. So it's not just mental health in isolation, but it is questions about housing, job security, affordability," Doggett said.
The funding will go across all of Travis County, to schools, clinics and other mental health facilities across the county.
"Many of our young people are facing big challenges, but many families are just trying to get by with the affordability challenges there and provide, as well as some older people in our community feeling isolation," Doggett said.
Addressing mental health hurdles can help health care professionals across the state.
Texas Hospital Association CEO John Hawkins explained that by continuing to fund projects that address behavioral health, it ultimately frees up hospital beds that are needed right now.
"Crisis services, substance abuse services, all of those things can help increase behavioral health capacity out in our communities," Hawkins said.
Doggett explained that it is important to take the steps now for our next generation and those that will be taking care of them.
"The idea is to help those mental health providers who are in such great demand, be aware of where the problems are, where the resources are to help them meet the needs of their clients or patients," Doggett said.