November 15, 2019
dr constance lacy

The University of North Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral Health and Human Services is the beneficiary of grants in excess of $200,000 aimed to increase access to mental health care in surrounding communities as part of the Texas Health Resources initiative called Texas Health Community Impact.

UNT Dallas is one of five organizations in Dallas and Rockwall counties to receive a total of $1.12 million in funding for the collaborative health initiative, Well Together. The Well Together program provides awareness of mental health, reduces negative perceptions and takes a holistic wellness approach to improve access to a full spectrum of care.

Texas Health Resources awarded UNT Dallas a grant of $134,992, and the Cigna Foundation awarded a grant of $70,213.

“Through the generosity of the Texas Health Resources Foundation and the Cigna Foundation, we are well on our way to reach 800 community residents by December 2020,” said Constance Lacy, Dean of the UNT Dallas School of Behavioral Health and Human Services. “We will provide much-needed information and recourse to help minimize the stigma associated with mental illness, and to increase awareness of the prevalence of mental health needs in our local communities.”

The Texas Health Community Impact funding for Well Together will ensure the delivery of Mental Health First Aid education to reduce the shame and stigma associated with mental health and increase the population’s knowledge of mental health by infusing specific strategies to guide those in need of professional help.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health and needs to be a priority in our community,” UNT Dallas President Bob Mong said. “It is important we get beyond stigmas that may have existed in the past as it relates to mental health issues so those that need help can be treated.”

The UNT Dallas School of Behavioral Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the university’s Urban SERCH Institute and local partners AVANCE, Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic, Harmony Community Development Corporation and the Pleasant Grove Ministerial Alliance, will equip communities in West Dallas and southern Dallas to make a difference in the lives of those affected by mental health or substance abuse.

“UNT Dallas thanks Tauane Araujo-Cruz, Director, Community Health Improvement, at Texas Health Resources, and Cheryl Brown, the Director of Community Engagement for Cigna,” Lacy said. “They each provided guidance, insight and support throughout this process.”