Tue, 08/11/2020 - 17:17


Aug. 11, 2020
Contact: Angelica Luna-Kaufman
(713) 429-2104

Harris County Awarded Millions for Mental Health Services

Judge Jason Cox and partners secure $2.7 million grant for treatment for those with mental illness

Houston, TX – When Judge Jason Cox saw the need for expanded mental health services in Harris County, he decided to help. As the presiding judge over Probate Court 3, Cox hears legal matters related to the Mental Health Docket at the Harris County Psychiatric Center.

Cox partnered with The Harris Center of Mental Health and IDD, UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center, and the University of Houston to apply for a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Last month the group announced receipt of $2.7 million to create an Assisted Outpatient Treatment program for people struggling with mental illness.

“We’re all very excited about what this grant and program could mean for the citizens of Harris County,” Cox said.

“With this funding the Houston AOT program will be able to provide this community with life-changing opportunities for residents struggling personally with mental illness or a loved one who has been impacted,” he said.

AOT programs provide mental health facilities and resources to individuals unable to take responsibility for their own care. Research has shown that AOT programs increase treatment adherence and reduce risk of hospitalization, arrest, incarceration, crime, victimization, and violence. The Harris County program, while not voluntary, will provide individuals the opportunity to receive outpatient mental health services.

“…as a Democrat, I care deeply about equal access to health care,” said Cox.

“I’m buoyed by the knowledge this Harris County initiative, aided by this grant, will expand mental health services throughout our region, particularly in Harris County’s underserved communities,” he said.

“I’m also excited because moving forward with this program affirms the dignity of the persons receiving care – giving them the opportunity to participate as a proactive partner in their treatment,” Cox said.

Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lillie Schechter said that Cox’s work on this mental health initiative is just one example of how important it is for people to vote the entire ballot from start to finish.

“Elected officials such as Judge Jason Cox are the reason it is important to vote all the way down the ticket,” Schechter said.

“If Democrats hadn’t done that in 2018, we would have missed an opportunity to elect dozens of officials in Harris County – individuals who are working to improve the judicial system, advance the health care system, and increase access to mental health care.”

Responding to the grant announcement, Schechter said, “I got to know Jason when he ran for and won Harris County Probate Court 3 in 2018. He has a servant’s heart, and I knew immediately he would take action to support all Harris County residents.”

“His first time on the ballot, he appeared on one of the longest ballots in the county. He was elected because people voted for every Democrat on the ballot,” she said.

Schechter said elected officials in down-ballot races can have an enormous impact on our daily lives and the well-being of our communities.

“Democrats must come out and vote for every candidate on the ballot with a Democrat next to their name,” said Schechter.

“That way we can elect more candidates who share our values and send a clear message to Abbott, Trump and all the Republicans that don’t believe in working collaboratively or using science and data to make decisions,” she said.