Texas Prevention - A New Name and A New Focus

Texas Behavioral Health and Prevention Programs
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) recently renamed its prevention services team to Prevention and Behavioral Health Promotion, (PBHP) to demonstrate the agency’s broader focus on overall health and wellness.
Prevention and Behavioral Health Campaign
HHSC is partnering with FleishmanHillard, Inc. a global public relations and marketing agency, to develop and implement a statewide primary prevention and behavioral health promotion campaign. The campaign’s messaging uses evidence-based strategies, such as reducing stigma, building community connection and resilience, and changing social norms. The campaign targets Texas youth, young adults, and families, in addition to community leaders who can help reduce environmental risk and increase protective factors.
HHSC is also working with The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Health Communication to develop an interactive digital tool to improve the referral process to existing substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery services, as well as conduct research to support the development of prevention campaign messaging. HHSC anticipates a formal launch in the Fall 2022.
Community and Environmental Conditions Improvements
As part of a larger effort, HHSC is working with Texas’ 43 community coalition partnerships to implement projects to improve community and environmental conditions. Using federal block grant supplemental COVID-19 funding,1 coalitions started new strategies with a dual focus on creating environmental and systemic changes and providing stress-reducing and healing activities.
As an example of environmental change, the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol's Galveston County Coalition located in Houston is addressing food security and sustainability through community garden projects (see photos). In addition, as an example of a stress-reducing and healing activity, Abilene Recovery Council in Abilene hosted a poetry and talent show night with the theme "Moving Forward’, which provided a space for community members to perform and collectively heal from the trauma inflicted by the pandemic.
Innovative Healing-centered Projects
Federal block grant COVID-19 supplemental funds under the American Rescue Plan Act2 are being utilized to support innovative healing-centered projects that promote resiliency, social connection, and healing for Texans who are at-risk for substance misuse. These projects will provide non-clinical supportive services, such as community-based wellness centers and peer mentorship programs, to those who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) or emergent behavioral health needs exacerbated by COVID-19.
Prevention providers funded through these projects will develop referral pathways to appropriate resources, services, and support for people who need both clinical and non-clinical support. HHSC will facilitate ongoing provider trainings in trauma-informed care and healing-centered engagement to further mitigate the impact of the current high-stress environments faced by many across Texas and help prevent substance misuse before it begins.
1 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 [P.L. 116-260] (H.R.133)
2 American Rescue Plan Act, 2021 [P.L. 117-2] (H.R. 1319)
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