Transforming Lives The Harris Center 2019 Annual Report

We are The Harris Center

The Harris Center is the state-designated Local Mental Health Authority and Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD) Authority serving Harris County, Texas. As the largest behavioral and developmental disability care center in Texas, The Harris Center provided care to over 79,000 people in fiscal year 2019 and has an annual budget of over $275 million.

As part of its mission to transform the lives of people with behavioral health and IDD needs in the third largest county in the United States, The Harris Center provides a full continuum of services at 86 different sites across Harris County. In addition, services are provided in more than 42 different languages as well as sign language in order to better serve what is one of the most diverse and multi-cultural communities in the nation.

Year in Review

Intellectual and Developmental Disability & Autism Services

The Right Talent, Right Now

The Harris Center and the H.E.A.R.T. Program Provided Summer Internships for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

For many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), finding jobs out in the “real world” does 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 Texas Workforce Commission and 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.

“When [Adrianne] came in, she was eager to learn and she would take instructions very clearly. You could just tell her one time and she would go on her own and complete her tasks,” said Shaskyia Behn, administrative assistant in the contracts department at The Harris Center.

The participants (four from the Texas Workforce Commission, and 26 through the H.E.A.R.T Program) were placed at The Harris Center over the summer in different departments. They performed a variety of tasks such as greeting visitors, filing paperwork, helping maintain the printers, and inputting data.

As the internships came to an end, the H.E.A.R.T Program had a celebration to recognize the interns and their accomplishments.

Fitness for All

The obesity rate of those with a diagnosis of IDD is 41.6% compared to 29.2% of the general population. Inequities in the provision of healthcare to individuals with IDD results in poor health, limited community participation and reduced quality of life. 28% of adults with disabilities reported feelings of sadness, unhappiness and depression preventing them from being active.

Barriers to fitness include few facilities, programs, or instructors offer modified exercise for individuals with disabilities, lack of time, limited income and lack of awareness.

The Harris Center and Bloom Fitness have partnered to provide group fitness classes for individuals 16 years of age and older who have a diagnosis of intellectual disability and/or Autism. Participants have fun with their peers, learn about health and build self-esteem as they join a growing fitness community.

Outpatient Mental Health Services

Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program

FIRST: Family Intervention Restorative Services of Texas

The FIRST program is a diversion program for juveniles with pending criminal charges resulting from a domestic misdemeanor offense.

It is designed to negate the filing of criminal charges on the juvenile and allow the juvenile and their family to receive mental health services in lieu of detention and a judicial proceeding.

The expectation is to empower the family unit by teaching coping and communication skills necessary to avoid future situations requiring law enforcement involvement.

Program Graduates from the six-month program follow through on treatment goals established with the family and the clinician and meet all requirements established by the Juvenile Probation Case Manager.

The FIRST program is a collaboration between:

  • The Harris County District Attorney’s Office
  • The Harris County Juvenile Probation Department
  • The Harris Center
  • Texas Department of Family Protective Services

We had our first program graduation of 15 youth. On the second graduation, 39 youth graduated. The number of graduates is expected to continue to grow.

CORE: Clinician and Officer Remote Evaluation

The Clinician and Officer Remote Evaluation pilot program (CORE) is a partnership of The Harris Center and The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). A tablet and a HIPAA- compliant technology platform is utilized to connect a law enforcement officer and a crisis mental health clinician at The Harris Center to provide assessment in the community on a mental health crisis 911 call.

The Harris Center/HCSO CORE program is the future of policing regarding law enforcement response to people with mental illness.

HOT: The Homeless Outreach Team collaborates with Houston Police Department’s Mental Health Division Homeless Outreach Team to provide outreach and care coordination of services to link and coordinate individuals who need assistance in accessing housing, community services, primary and behavioral healthcare.

Judge Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center

This voluntary program serves as a one-stop shop for law enforcement to divert (from jail) persons with mental illness who have been picked up for low-level, non-violent offenses, like trespassing

The service array includes:

  • Triage, assessment, 24-48 hour observation,and short-term crisis respite beds.
  • Peer engagement and psychosocial-rehabilitation.
  • Integrated care and individual treatment plans to assist with stabilization.
  • Comprehensive discharge planning and post-release case management
  • Post-discharge access to wraparound services, such as substance abuse treatment and housing, developed through partnerships.

Aftercare, Post-Release Services

  • Intensive Community Based Case Management
  • Medication management
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychosocial programming
  • Respite beds
  • Crisis Housing Supports
  • Detox/Residential Substance Use Disorder Services
  • Peer support
  • Permanent Supportive Housing

Forensic Mental Health Services

Dual Diagnosis Residential Program

The Dual Diagnosis Residential Program (DDRP) is a an evidence based model to address mental health, substance abuse and criminality in a highly structured environment focusing on psychiatric and medical stabilization, pro-social lifestyles and cognitive behavior treatment.

Access increased by offering New START* services at three sites. Program participants are located all across Harris County, the largest county in the state of Texas. Before the decentralization, only one location was available for access to the continuity of care and intensive case management.

Multiple limitations, such as personal transportation - dependency on others or the public transportation system - presented barriers for care. Multiple location options increase the program compliance and success rates.

The New START clinic at 6032 Airline Drive was decentralized into three of the current agency Mental Health Outpatient clinic sites:

North West (NW) Clinic @ 3737 Dacoma
North East (NE) Clinic @ 7200 N Loop East Freeway
South East (SE) Clinic @ 5901 Long Drive

*New START: Specialized Team of Advocates and Rehabilitation Therapists - Funded by the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments (TCOOMMI)

What happens when someone reaches out to The Harris Center for help?

FOX26 aired a special news series on teens in crisis. This resulted in a great opportunity to properly shine a light on mental health issues teens face. The Harris Center was tasked with helping viewers understand what happens when people reach out for help, hoping that they will be more likely to seek professional help if and when they need it. Three of our programs were featured.

Fiscal Year 2019 Financials