Community

Be Well, Be Connected – Mental Health

Master
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Our Program

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Funded through a four-year grant from the federal agency Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, our program offers a comprehensive array of services which include emotional and behavioral therapies, psychiatric consultation and medication management, peer support and parents’ reeducation.

The program is delivered by Baylor College of Medicine and has the sponsorship of the City of Houston. We work closely with different Houstonian community organizations including:

  • Texas Children’s Hospital
  • Harris Health System
  • Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
  • The Hackett Center for Mental Health
  • The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Houston
  • Mental Health America of Greater Houston
  • Several Independent Schools Districts located in the Greater Houston Area
  • Legacy Community Health Systems
  • Communities in Schools
  • DePelchin Children’s Center
  • Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services
  • University of Houston Departments of Psychology and Social Work
  • Mental Health Care Line at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • City of Houston’s Mayor’s Challenge for Suicide Prevention in Active Duty Service Members
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What is Coordinated Specialized Care

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Coordinated Specialty Care is a team-based, interdisciplinary approach to mental health treatment. Created for individuals experiencing first episode psychosis, this approach is also applied to other severe mental illnesses (e.g., bipolar disorder). Members of a CSC team included psychiatrists who can support medication management, therapists who provide psychotherapy, family education and support, and case management. CSC teams also aim to coordinate with additional care providers in the community (e.g., school counselors, social workers, CPS). CSC teams are designed to foster independence for the populations served while providing guidance on treatment planning and family involvement. Teams of this type are growing in popularity in the United States and have been found to reduce negative outcomes in individuals with severe mental illness or serious emotional disturbances.

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Who do we Serve?

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The Be Well, Be Connected Program serves youth ages 9-17 who have serious and persistent mental illness who are experiencing disruption and interference in their lives, and who have been diagnosed with:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • First Episode Psychosis
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Psychosis
  • Major Depressive Disorder and Psychosis
     

Diagnosis should be performed by psychiatrists from Texas Children’s Hospital or Harris Health System. If the youth has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist who does not belong to any of the above, the diagnosis requires to be ratified by a psychiatrist from Texas Children’s Hospital or Harris Health System prior to start providing services

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Our Services

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Our services include free (grant funded) individual, family and group psychotherapy, peer support, and closed coordination with the assigned psychiatrist. This collaborative approach has been proven to be more effective than a solely intervention. Psychiatric consultation is not included within the funded services.

Be Well, Be Connected services will be delivered to the youth as well as the family, and they are aimed to:

  • Understand triggers which affect the youth’s behavior and its impact on the family.
  • Identify alternative and more positive ways to handle crisis, emotions, and behaviors.
  • Develop resources to cope more effectively to crisis and improve life satisfaction
     

Youths who enroll in the Be Well, Be Connected Program receive an array of mental health services and a coordinated system of care including:

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Additionally, the Baylor's Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine Program, initiative closely linked to the Be Well, Be Connected Program, provides first level screening in several public-school districts and one charter district across the Greater Houston Area. TCHATT also provides immediate tele-mental health crisis-care at select school campuses for youth who are experiencing behavioral and emotional disruption and interference in their lives.

Depending upon the case, some youth attended from the BCM’s TCHATT Program are referred and served by the Be Well, Be Connected Program.

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Understanding Diagnosis

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What is the state of mental health in youth in the United States?

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A recent study indicates the following:

  • 13-20 percent of children and/or adolescents have a diagnosable mental disorder.
  • 50 percent of adults with mental illness experienced onset by age 14. 75 percent of adults present the onset by age 24
  • 13.84 percent of youth (ages 12-17) reported at least one episode of Major Depression Disorder in the past year. The number of youths who experienced depressive episodes increased by 206,000 from the previous year.
  • 9.7 percent of youths in the United States had an experience of severe depression in the past year. This increased by 126,000 from last year.
  • 4.3-11.3 percent of children have a Serious Emotional Disturbance
  • More than 50 percent of children and adolescents do not receive mental health services
     

These figures have been increased after the appearance of COVID-19. Concretely there have been an:

  • Increase rates of mental health diagnoses
  • Increased emergency room visits for mental health reasons
  • Increased rates of suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Mental illnesses have been found to increase the risk of COVID-19 by 65 percent
     

Source: Mental Health America

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Frequently Asked Questions