Federal funds have been made available to states under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. The 87th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 8 during the Third Special Session to allocate these funds. The Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC) will receive $113,082,887 to improve mental health care, expand services and increase the mental health workforce. Of those funds, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) will receive approximately $32 million.
“Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has been a leader in innovative models
to expand access for child and adolescent mental health care,” said TTUHSC President
Lori Rice-Spearman, Ph.D., “We’re grateful for the opportunity afforded through these
funds to further expand the work we’re doing collaboratively with community partners
across the state to better serve the mental health care needs of this vulnerable population.”
According to the TCMHCC website, the consortium was created by the 86th Texas Legislature to leverage the expertise and capacity of the health-related institutions of higher education to address urgent mental health challenges and improve the mental health care system in this state for children and adolescents.
The five TCMHCC initiatives include:
- The Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN), which provides telehealth-based consultation and training to primary care providers.
- The Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) program, which provides time limited in-school behavioral telehealth care to at-risk children and adolescents.
- The Community Psychiatry Workforce Expansion (CPWE), which supports full-time academic psychiatric resident rotation positions at facilities operated by community mental health providers.
- The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowships (CAP Fellow) program, which expands both the number of child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship positions in Texas.
- The research initiative, which has created two state-wide networks in Texas to study and advance the delivery of child and adolescent mental health services related to depression and trauma for improved outcomes.
This one-time award is not part of the permanent budget. Funds allocated to TTUHSC will expand on initiatives in three categories:
- Enhancements and expansion of CPAN initiatives to provide direct message and text support to primary care providers, to provide direct assessment of children and adolescents, to provide suicide prevention programming for pediatricians consulting with CPAN, to implement collaborative care models within primary care settings, and to expand the psychiatry access network to include services for those clinicians treating pregnant and post-partum women.
- Enhancements and expansion of TCHATT initiatives to provide additional sessions, bilingual trauma-focused services, treatment for adolescent substance use disorder, suicide prevention programming and coverage for additional geographic areas.
- Enhancement and expansion of CPWE initiatives to develop training opportunities in psychology and counseling and telehealth services in collaboration with several local mental health authorities to expand access to mental health services for youth in our region.
“This will definitely be a team effort getting the logistics in place to enhance and expand our existing programs, and I am excited to have the support of the School of Medicine, TTUHSC and the Texas Tech University System to carry this mission forward,” said TTUHSC Chair of Psychiatry Sarah Mallard Wakefield, M.D. “We have good plans in place and feel strongly we could not pass up this opportunity to shift the paradigm of mental health care for our region.”
For more information about these initiatives at TTUHSC, please visit the CATR website.