Access to mental healthcare is an ongoing concern in all our communities, particularly those that have experienced discrimination, trauma, and displacement. This July, during BIPOC Mental Health Month, we highlight our commitment to improving access to mental health care and wellness in communities of color.
Although many people experience mental health challenges, therapy can be costly and out of reach. To make sure access isn’t an issue, Harris County invests in multiple programs and partnerships, such as the Harris Center’s Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities initiative.
Precinct One also partners with Baylor College of Medicine to meet people in their communities with teen clinics housed at two of our community centers. From now until Sept. 30, Fifth Ward-area residents ages 13-24 can receive group and individual therapy at clinics housed in our Cavalcade and Finnigan community centers. Our Programs Department has also partnered with Houston Recovery Center to connect Fifth Ward youth and adults to health care and social services.
One of the dedicated mental health care professionals who supports these efforts is senior medical social worker Kristin Ligon, an on-site counselor at Finnigan Community’s Baylor Teen Health Clinic. She offers insights based on her experiences to increase access to mental health care:
- Listen: There are times when people just need you to listen. Be an active listener and show that you want to understand.
- Learn: Get to know the young people in your community. At Finnigan Park, many adults provide a listening place and a safe space for youth, pointing them in the right direction if needed.
- Look around: If you need support or know someone who does, tap into the strengths of your community. Schools, churches, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhoods often network with community centers to provide support year-round.
In addition to your community’s resources, several organizations in Harris County are ready to help you or someone you know in need of mental health services or emotional support, including the Harris Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Montrose Center, Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC), and Harris County Public Health.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call the Harris Center’s 24-hour Crisis Line by selecting Option 1 after dialing the main number, 713-970-7000. If you're outside Harris County, you can call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.