By: Josh Maxwell
Having peace of mind is always important, no matter what stage of life you’re in. This past year managed to take so much from communities around the world. From establishments closing doors to many individuals losing their jobs, the pandemic’s effects have left many people still in recovery.
The Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities (NCMHID) is one of the many organizations that have helped citizens cope with the effects of the pandemic – and, well, life in general. During every stage of life, this center makes sure that members of the Coastal Bend community have all the utilities they need to get their lives back on the right track.
“I think one thing we’ve done a good job of over the past few years is trying to get the word out of the services we provide and making sure we provide that outreach, and we’re going to continue to do so,” says CEO Mike Davis.
When patients seek treatment from the NCMHID, there are more than 30 programs that provide optimal care and guidance. Operations Director Mark Hendricks oversees these programs to make sure patients are receiving the best possible care.
“We want them to know that recovery is possible. At the end of the day, they do not have to be defined by the malady they have experienced, whether that is bipolar disorder, major depression, or anxiety,” Hendricks says.
“I think everyone realizes that it’s not just a certain group out there, it’s pretty much all of us in the same boat together,” Davis adds, pointing out how common mental health issues are within the community as a whole.
While the center offers many programs to help patients, some serve more specific roles than others. The Jail Diversion Program, one of three programs started in coordination with the county in 2018, aims to minimize the number of arrests throughout the city for those awaiting adjudication.
“The program focuses on us identifying those individuals in collaboration with the jail staff, working with the district attorney’s office to determine the individual’s eligibility for diversion,” says Hendricks. The program aims to minimize arrests so patients can receive the treatment they need to become stable citizens.
“Generally, within six months to a year if they are successful, then those charges are dropped. It basically gives people who need access to mental health care access to that care, rather than taking a purely punitive approach,” Hendricks says.
While the center has many programs for adults, its reach expands to children and young adults as well.
“We have an entire division of our organization dedicated to serving youth and adolescents, and those services are provided primarily in schools throughout the community,” Hendricks says.
The center offers specialized mental health first aid training for educators and counselors across many levels of education, from primary all the way to collegiate level.
While many individuals suffer from mental health issues, the Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities has shown just how dedicated they are to serving our community. Through outreach, education, and volunteer service, this center has paved the way for mental health awareness in the Coastal Bend community for years to come.