Worthy Convos: MHMR Has Been Changing Lives for Over 50 Years
Many of us can still remember the not-so-distant past in which mental health and mental illness were not commonplace words in our lexicon. While it’s encouraging to see the progress made in recent years, there are still hurdles to jump. But hurdles were never a concern for one Tarrant County organization that has made its mission to help individuals and families since the first space mission. For over half a century, My Health My Resources of Tarrant County (MHMR) has operated the second largest community center in Texas to provide resources and hope to those who need it most.
MHMR has operated since 1969- long before mental health and mental illness were accepted topics of public conversation. What is the origin story of your organization?
For more than 50 years, MHMR has provided community-based services for youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), mental health conditions, substance use disorders and babies and young children with developmental delays. MHMR employees use a person-centered approach to fulfill our mission: We Change Lives! Using innovative approaches, MHMR partners with community organizations to provide services and a hopeful future.
You emphasize early childhood intervention. Why is this period so critical?
Early intervention is best, as we say. Our Early Childhood Intervention Program supports families of young children (0-3) with developmental delays to have the resources and support they need to reach their goals.
A developmental delay is when a child is behind schedule reaching early childhood milestones. If you have a concern about your baby’s development, anyone can make a referral to 844-NTX-KIDS.
What services have you included in your programming in recent years?
Our services are extensive. To help families navigate, we have created two new programs to help families connect with information, referrals, community resources and our services.
Help Me Grow – 844-NTX-KIDS or www.HelpMeGrowNorthTexas.org (for 0-6 years)
Help ME Thrive – 844-NTX-TEEN or www.HelpMeThriveNorthTexas.org (for 6-18 years)
How essential is grant funding for your organization?
We provide essential state services and grants allow us to provide innovative programming to meet the needs of our growing population. We also have the MHMR Foundation that raises funds and grants; 99% of donations go directly into our services in our community to our most vulnerable neighbors.
What is a common misconception with mental health/illness?
We focus on programs and services that impact all of us. Mental illness, substance use and intellectual and developmental disabilities occur in families no matter the location, income, education or resources. We are here with our ICARE line 24/7/365 for anyone experiencing mental health concerns or needing access to our services. You can call anytime: 817-335-3022.
Which demographic/population is receiving the most benefit from MHMR services?
We provide services across Tarrant County and surrounding counties, and serve pregnant mothers, babies, youth, adults and seniors. We provide support, services and connections to other community resources for those in need. Last year our team of 2,000 employees served more than 72,000 people.
What does mental health mean to you?
To me, mental health means quality of life and balanced sense of self. It includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. I believe that mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood through adulthood.
What excites you about 2023?
What excites [MHMR] the most about 2023 is overcoming the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am excited about a future that is centered around achieving work-life balance and prioritizing mental health.