Denton County Public Health (DCPH) has announced plans to launch a new program aimed at providing easier access to mental health services. As part of this program, the county will hire two full-time mental health navigators who will be responsible for assessing the help-seeker’s need, making direct referrals to service providers, following up to assess if the linkage was successful, building and maintaining an online mental health resource directory, and tracking community assets and gaps in services.
The program, called DCPH Links, will make initial contact with those seeking mental health services within three business days. It is anticipated to come online this summer. Anyone experiencing a mental health emergency is asked to call the crisis line at 1-800-762-0157.
Denton County Commissioners Court approved the hiring of these mental health navigators after an increasing number of inmates with mental health issues were noted. Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie J. Mitchell said that the navigators would find out what problems existed and find the resources needed to address the issues. DCPH was determined as the best place for the navigators to position the program in a manner that would allow them to find additional grant funds to cover the costs of the mental health navigators when funding from the American Rescue Plan Act ran out.
The need for mental health resources has been highlighted in the community with the case of a 5-year-old who ran into traffic because he no longer wanted to live. “We, here in Denton County, can help,” Commissioner Mitchell said. Denton County Judge Andy Eads echoed her sentiments, adding: “We realize there is a need for more mental health resources. Hopefully, this one-stop-shop navigator system will be able to walk them through the process and help them seek treatment and reduce the ping-pong effect of bouncing around.”
The mental health navigators will play a crucial role in addressing the mental health crisis in Denton County. By providing timely access to services and resources, they will help ensure that those in need receive the help they require. The DCPH Links program will serve as a valuable resource for the community, and it is hoped that it will serve as a model for other counties and communities across the country.