Mental Health

Mental Health Committee

To learn more or contribute, please contact the committee leader(s) via email:

Committee Leader:

Martin Huynh

Unacceptable Reality

Access to mental health services in Texas is limited and mental illness often goes untreated in our state.

  • Texas ranks 50th in the nation when it comes to mental health funding per capita.
  • Mental illness costs businesses in Texas $270 billion, and the state $13 billion annually.
  • >1.3 million (or 20%) of Texas children have a mental health disorder, however more than 50% of these do not receive care.
  • Nationally, 70% of children involved with the juvenile justice department meet criteria for a mental illness.
  • Over 200 counties in Texas lack a sufficient workforce of practicing psychiatrists.
  • As Texas has grown, the per-capita psychiatric hospital capacity has fallen from 11.3 to 10.5 beds/100,000 people between 2013 and 2015.

The Mental Health Committee has worked to improve access to mental health care in Texas.

School-Based Behavioral Health Curricula

  • We developed a presentation, pre-test/post-test materials, and a handout of local mental health resources as part of a brief curriculum to educate teachers and other laypersons about red flags for mental illness in children and how to refer those children to care.
  • We work directly with local public and charter schools on destigmatization and identification of mental illness in the classroom, prevention of self-harm., and identification of coercive relationships.
  • We presented our research at the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians convention.

Postpartum Depression Awareness and Legislative Efforts

  • With the help of BCM perinatal psychiatrist Dr. Lucy Puryear, we educated pediatrics residents at UTH on perinatal psychiatry.
  • We partnered with the TMC Library to educate other healthcare providers about postpartum depression and psychosis.
  • Through our partnership with Mental Health America, we educate medical trainees on the identification and treatment of peripartum mood disorders.
  • We partner with other Houston organizations to expand education on perinatal mood disorders and craft legislation that proposes expansion of health coverage for postpartum women who qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, to include prolonged access to mental health care services.

Healthcare Provider Well-Being

  • Supporting efforts to assess and improve medical student mental wellbeing through working with school administrators and student leaders and proactively involving student feedback.
  • Conducting research on resident burnout and the highest priority needs that their programs can try to address.
  • Our 2016 DFC forum focused on physician mental health and included well-known speakers from the psychiatric community.