Representatives from eight organizations met Wednesday, November 29 to mark the launch of a county-wide initiative to coordinate and improve mental health response and care across jurisdictions.
The Kendall County Behavioral Health Advisory Coalition is a partnership of several entities, including Boerne ISD, the Boerne Police Department, the City of Boerne, Comfort ISD, Hill Country Family Services, Hill Country MHDD Centers, Kendall County, the Kendall County District Attorney’s Office, and the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office.
Several representatives spoke before a packed room of more than 80 people inside the Boerne City Council Chambers. They shared the background of mental health response in the county and the need for a collaborative approach to fill in the gaps for those experiencing mental health crises.
Boerne Police Chief Steve Perez spoke about the role of law enforcement in mental health response and how often by the time they are called out, a person is already in crisis. These calls often result in emergency detention, either at a local hospital or the jail, for the safety of the individual in crisis as well as their family and friends. One of the goals of the coalition, Perez said, is to connect those individuals with the help they need.
“We also know they need more than just sitting in a jail cell. They need counseling, they need therapy, they need medications,” Perez said. “We are looking forward to the changes we’re going to make in the Boerne-Kendall County community.”
The coalition was founded this summer to prioritize a cross-sector, systematic approach to addressing behavioral health concerns and increasing access to services. Its efforts are guided by the steering committee, which provides strategic direction based on the needs of the community.
“All of us have been at some point in this spectrum,” said Bryce Boddie, senior director of behavioral health services at Hill Country Family Services. “Most of us can get out of that red area pretty quickly because we have support, family, things we can access. But there are a whole lot of folks in Kendall Country who can’t do that. This coalition has been developed to address that across this spectrum.”
The collaboration and coordination among these sectors will be vital to the coalition's success.
You can watch a recording of Wednesday’s event on the City’s Facebook page.
To learn more about the collation, visit the KCBHAC website.