The Denton County Commissioners Court recently approved a $30,000 grant to Denton County MHMR to provide mental health services to residents in long-term care facilities through “Operation: Connecting Lives.”
As part of this program, Denton County MHMR will purchase 45 iPads with cellular and Wi-Fi capabilities using Denton County CARES funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The iPads will help provide mental health services to 83 individuals at 22 facilities who have not had regular service since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from the county.
“This program will enable our caseworkers to connect with our clients for one-on-one consultation as well as allow them to connect with their families,” said Pam Gutierrez, executive director of Denton County MHMR. “These individuals have not seen their loved ones face-to-face in over four months because of the pandemic which has resulted in a comprehensive deterioration in the mental health of our individuals served. The critical face-to-face communication with family and health care workers such as psychiatrists and case managers is vital in maintaining a healthy quality of life.”
“Operation: Connecting Lives” is the first of its kind in the region for providing mental health services.
“We believe this program will meet a need that has been, until now, overlooked as we all cope with the challenges this pandemic has wrought,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, who serves on the Denton County Behavioral Health Leadership Team with the United Way of Denton County. “Our mission is to serve everyone who has these needs. ‘Operation: Connecting Lives’ is a perfect example of thinking outside of the box to provide behavioral health services.”
Since March, Denton County has worked closely with United Way of Denton County to support nonprofits assisting residents with COVID-related needs, including rental assistance, food insecurity, childcare, etc.
“The impact of loneliness on our mental health when we are cut off from loved ones can be devastating and is yet another layer to the complexity of our community’s recovery,” said United Way of Denton County President & CEO Gary Henderson. “Denton County, MHMR of Denton County and United Way are leading the way in reimagining solutions to not only take care of our community’s physical health, but our mental health as well.”
Denton County nonprofits like Denton County MHMR can apply for funding through Denton County CARES – Coalition of Agencies to Restore Essential Services – an initiative launched by Denton County and United Way of Denton County to meet COVID-related financial needs across the county. To date, Denton County nonprofits have received more than $2.2 million in grants to support residents impacted by the pandemic, according to the county.