Texas has a severe shortage of mental health professionals: 202 out of 254 counties do not have enough psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurse specialists and family therapists to treat the needs of the population, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Texas Department of State Health Services oversees 39 different organizations, called Mental Health Authorities, which receive state funding to plan and develop a network of mental health professionals in various regions of the state. The MHAs, which are often referred to as mental health centers, can use state funding to provide mental health services directly to patients or to contract other mental health professionals in the region. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that patients in need have access and choices when seeking out mental health care services.
Although the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year, less than 1 percent of the Texas population received care from state-funded mental health centers in 2011.
This interactive map shows the number of patients treated for mental illness at state-funded centers in 2011 by service region. Hover over any of the regions to see contact information for the Mental Health Authority that oversees that area, the number of counties served, the number of counties with a shortage of mental health professionals and a demographic breakdown of the patients treated for mental illness at state-funded centers in 2011.
NorthSTAR delivers mental health and substance abuse services in a managed care setting for Medicaid-eligible patients in Dallas, Collin, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman, Navarro and Rockwall counties. Patients who received mental health services through NorthSTAR in 2011 are also included in this map.
Overall, the DSHS budgeted $540 million for community mental health services, including $101 million for NorthSTAR in 2012. (That does not include funding for state-run psychiatric hospitals or other substance and alcohol abuse treatment programs.)