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HHSC Launches Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line

Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.“Through this new effort, we are connecting Texans with mental health professionals who can help provide support to those who are feeling overwhelmed and stressed,” said Sonja Gaines, Deputy Executive Commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. “It can be helpful to talk to someone when you are facing anxiety, depression and stress, which are not uncommon to experience Read More »

Texans Urged to Use 2-1-1 Texas Social Services Hotline For COVID-19 Information and Referrals

Released by Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Austin, Texas on March 19, 2020Texas Health and Human Services encourages all Texans in need of COVID-19 information and referrals to community resources to call the 2-1-1 Texas hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “As we encourage people to use social distancing and to stay at home when possible, this state resource can help the public stay informed, stay calm and stay safe,” said Wayne Salter, HHS Deputy Executive Commissioner of Access and Eligibility Services. “Our trained staff are working tirelessly around the clock to respond to all the public’s questions, through 2-1-1 as well as our HHS social media platforms.”Texans, no matter where they live, can dial 2-1-1 Read More »

STEP Toward Recovery: Burke Hosting Outreach Presentation

LeeAnn Dwire, 18, right, has participated in Burke’s STEP program for the past year. She is now working, recently obtained her GED and is preparing for college entrance exams.
By Nicole Bradford, Reporter, see the original story here.
Nacogdoches, TX (Daily Sentinel)
A year ago, LeeAnn Dwire might have seemed like a garden variety troubled teen.
Depressed and anxious, the teen often isolated herself. Worse, she began having hallucinations — hearing voices that were not there.
“I was in a bad place,” said Dwire, now 18 and holding down a job while preparing for the SAT. “My mom got scared for me and started Read More »

Texas Offers Services for Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Texas Health and Human Services is urging people to be aware of the benefits and services available to Texans who suffered loss following Hurricane Harvey.
“I’ve seen firsthand the devastation, and we’ve been moving quickly to line up an array of benefits and services to help people in need,” said HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith. “We’ve been working closely with our federal partners and our folks on the ground to get food benefits rolling and do what we can to help simplify life for people affected.”
Texas HHS has mobilized various agency programs to help Texans. Here is a recap of some of the benefits and services Texas HHS offers.
FEMA GrantsTexas HHS has processed more than 80,000 grant applications for federal aid Read More »

Burke COO, Jake Squiers Named to Special Olympics Texas Board

The Special Olympics Texas board of directors recently named Jake Squiers, chief operating officer of Burke, as a new member.

Squiers just finished a two-year term on the nonprofit organization’s President’s Advisory Council and will now serve a two-year term in an at-large position on the board.

“Jake has a tremendous eye for detail and was a standout member of the President’s Advisory Council,” said Chad Tywater, SOTX board chairman. “Jake will be a great addition to our board for years to come.”

Squiers said he feels “honored and excited.”

“I’m very passionate about activities for folks with developmental disabilities,” he said. “I’ve been Read More »

More Options Open to Addicts Seeking Help

Published in the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel on August 8, 2016
By Sherry Daniel, Contributing Writer
Thousands of suffering addicts in Deep East Texas now have more options to request help with substance abuse disorders. ADAC, Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas, is working in conjunction with Burke, “to assess, support and arrange treatment for recovery from drug and alcohol problems,” according to ADAC counselor Brooke Phillips.
While heroin sends more users to local emergency rooms, police say methamphetamine holds the top spot as the most abused chemical in the area.
Nacogdoches Police Sgt. Greg Sowell places “crack,” another powerful stimulant, in the second position. Alcohol is an ever-present chemical of abuse. Estimates show that 182 people will be arrested for drug Read More »

Nacogdoches Veteran Finds “friendly foxhole” in Peer Network

Published in the Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel on May 30, 2016
News Editor’s note: The following feature is the last in a series highlighting May as mental health month.
By Kinnie Reina, Burke
Two years ago, retired United States Army major, Jeffrey Smith found relief in the Lufkin-based Military Veteran’s Peer Network. Smith retired from the Army in 2006 after 21 years of service. During his last three years of service, he served as XO (executive officer) at Fort Polk in Louisiana, where his brigade ensured that National Guard and Reserve units were trained and ready to be deployed overseas. During his tenure, his brigade processed over 4,000 soldiers and lost 32.
Upon reentry to civilian life, Smith created a wall of isolation around him. He distanced Read More »

East Texas Man Plants New Life Following Alcoholism, Leukemia Diagnosis

Jim Lemon of the East Texas Behavioral Health Network was recently recognized as Citizen of the Year by the Deep East Texas Branch of the National Association of Social Workers for his community development work with area gardens which support sustainability and foster healthy living.  Lemon recently visited with KTRE at one of these gardens to share his story of recovery and actualization. Check out the story (and some pictures) on KTRE’s website, or watch the video below.

It was a double-whammy for one East Texas man. Jim Lemon for years battled a never-ending struggle with alcoholism. And his life took an unexpected turn when the diagnosis of Leukemia came.
“37 years ago is when I chose sobriety,” said Jim Lemon.
A decision Read More »

Woman Survives Bipolar, Suicidal Thoughts with Burke’s Help

Carolyn doesn’t mince words when explaining what Burke has meant to her. “Without Burke, I’d be dead.” She was tired, bitter and except for the elderly father she cared for, estranged from most of her family. For the better part of 10 years, she says, “my life was in shambles.”
Burke Counselor Cindy Carswell agrees, “she was as serious about suicide as anyone I’ve ever known. It seemed that nothing made her happy, but she’s become a poster child for not giving up. She’s become an incredible inspiration to me.”
Carolyn’s illness required a combination of medication and counseling. Both have been remarkably effective, but neither were quick fixes. Finding the right medication took some time, and Carolyn says many of her Read More »

Mission Possible Conference Focuses on Health Outcomes

The 21st Annual Mission Possible conference will begin Tuesday, March 8th with a preconference event and will conclude with a full day conference on Wednesday, March 9th. The conference is being held on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University in the Baker Pattillo Student Center in Nacogdoches.
There will be a free preconference event held on Tuesday evening, March 8 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the Movie Theatre at the Student Center, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association. This event offers two hours of continuing education in counseling or social work. Julie Kutac, Ph.D. and Ann Marie McDonald of the Houston and Southeast Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will present Alzheimer’s 101 with a focus on early detection and diagnosis Read More »