Mental Health America of Texas in the News

May 16, 2017
Experts Analyze Mental Health Challenges
KXAN Investigates (NBC Affiliate)

AUSTIN - KXAN gathered a roundtable of experts to discuss the mental health challenges that lie ahead for law enforcement. Gyl Switzer is the public policy director for Mental Health America Texas. Dennis Wilson is the sheriff in Limestone County, Texas, and also the president of the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas., and Representative Garnet Coleman has focused on mental health legislation for several legislative sessions at the State Capitol.  Watch the interview and find a link to KXAN Investigates’ Fallen project, examining the role mental health played leading to officers’ murders and the necessary solutions that could prevent future deaths. 

May 16, 2017
Report: Texas Falling Short on Police Safety During Mental Health Crises
The Texas Tribune

Since January 2000, 79 peace officers in Texas have been shot and killed in the line of duty. For its mini-doc series, “Fallen,” KXAN-TV researched the background of each killer to find common themes — commonly, mental illness... Groups like Mental Health America of Texas are concerned that without partnerships and more training for police, there is the risk of needlessly criminalizing people with mental illness, which already comes with many misconceptions.

February 20, 2017
For those with mental illnesses, health care is not always within reach

Standing on the southern steps of the Texas State Capitol, Texas state representative Garnet Coleman addressed a crowd about the importance of funding for mental health care. For Coleman, who spoke in a lineup that included other state politicians, activists and health workers, the fight to improve access to mental health care is personal. Read the story.

February 8, 2017
Advocates lobby Texas lawmakers to beef up mental health care system
Dallas Morning News

Today, advocates for changes to the state's mental health care system say it's a different story. Members of the Texas Coalition for Healthy Minds visited lawmakers' offices Wednesday to ask them to expand the continuum of care in the state, focusing on improvements in prevention and recovery measures for people with mental health concerns.  Read the story.

February 8, 2017
Travis Co. Jail becomes largest provider of mental health help after hospital overcrowding
KXAN TV (NBC Austin affiliate)

Lawmakers this Legislative Session are proposing to spend $1 billion to fix state hospitals in order to treat more people suffering from mental illness… “I think it’s important to remember that folks in jail waiting for a bed have not been convicted of a crime,” says Gyl Switzer, Public Policy Dir. Mental Health America Texas. “But that’s not okay for folks to be housed in a jail while they wait for a state hospital bed we need some rethinking.” Read more.

February 8, 2017
Mental health crisis taking toll on Texas law enforcement, families
CBS Austin

Hundreds of people took to the steps of the State Capitol Wednesday to rally for more state resources and funding to combat the rising issue of mental illness. One of many concerns discussed by lawmakers and advocates was the rapidly increasing burden on law enforcement. Read the story.

August 4, 2016
Symposium Aims to Reduce Suicides
Time Warner Cable News

SAN MARCOS - Experts converging in San Marcos agree suicide in Texas needs to be addressed. The Texas chapter of Mental Health America says there are as many as 3,000 suicides each year. "There are 1.5 times more suicides than homicides," said Merily Keller of Stop Texas Suicides. "The trend isn’t just reversible, it’s absolutely preventable. It begins by treating suicide as a public health issue in the same vein as heart or other diseases." See the full story on

May 29, 2016
Suicide Prevention Efforts Focus on Small Town Efforts
Texas Tribune

Part of a series of stories for Mental Health Month.  Merily Keller, MHA Texas' suicide prevention specialist, among others throughout the state, speak with reporter Edgar Walters.  Read the story at Texas Tribune.

February 22, 2016
Advocates Say Preventing Suicides By Firearms Has Nothing To Do With 2nd Amendment
KUT FM – Austin, TX

 MHA Texas’ suicide prevention specialist, Merily Keller, spoke with KUT’s Jennifer Stayton about suicide prevention and discussions on gun regulation.  Listen or read the interview here.

February 10, 2016
Austin-based group rings the bell for liberty and mental health
Austin American-Statesman

Mental Health America of Texas has been looking out for the mentally ill for 80 years. Almost invariably, those who are the most devoted to the cause of improved mental health care eagerly share personal stories on the subject.

Michael Barnes explores the history of Mental Health America of Texas.  Read the article on or download a PDF.

December 20, 2015
Fighting Depression During the Holiday Season
attn.:  magazine

For many people, the holiday season is a joyous time. But for those suffering from depression, the holidays can be yet another uphill battle. Merily Keller, suicide prevention coordinator for Mental Health America of Texas and founding board member of the Texas Suicide Prevention Council, promotes the importance of surrounding yourself with loved ones.  Read the article.

September 27, 2015
Seton HealthLIne: Depression
KBLJ 590 AM/99.7 FM

Dr. Kimberly Kjome with Seton Mind Institute and Merily Keller, consultant and master trainer with Mental Health America of Texas talks about depression, suicide prevention and the warning signs. Listen to the program.  


September 11, 2015
Why the DMV Denied a Driver’s License to a Teen With Depression
Yahoo! Parenting

A Texas teenager is raising awareness about mental illness this week as she speaks out about her recent experience at the DMV — in which her application for a driver’s license was initially halted when she disclosed her diagnosis of depression. Read the article.


September 6, 2015
6 Incredible Suicide Prevention Apps Everyone Should Know
She Knows Daily

If you've read nothing else in this article... if nothing has sunk in, please read this one sentence: 10 Million of us are suffering without the proper mental health care and we have to stop ignoring each other's pain immediately. Luckily, traditional suicide prevention methods have caught up to technology and now we have some of the best suicide prevention apps in history:  1. ASK & Prevent Suicide by Mental Health America of Texas... Read the article.


August 28, 2015
Overdose Awareness Day to Commemorate Lives Lost and Inspire Hope for Prevention
The Pampa News

Austin – Recovery advocates from across the state will hold the second annual Texas Overdose Awareness day on August 30, 2015 at the State Capitol. The event will honor the lives of loved ones who have tragically died of an overdose and celebrate the enactment of Senate Bill 1462, which will prevent many Texans from dying of an overdose. Read the article.


July 31, 2015
Lawmakers Reviewing Jails, Police Standards
TWC News

State leaders are looking to make changes at county jails following Sandra Bland's death. 

Commissioners say the "overwhelming majority" of interviews are conducted by jailers, not mental health professionals. While a mental health course is recommended, it's not required. Read the article.


June 5, 2015
Governor Abbott: Sign HB225 and Save Texas Lives
Huff Post Politics blog

It's been a long time coming, but finally some of the national interest and enthusiasm for drug policy reform is beginning to trickle down to Texas. As lawmakers prepare for the 84th Legislature, bills focused on drug policy are among those already pre-filed and more will surely come. Read the article.