President's Message | April 2022
Having Partners to Address Mental Health is a Good Thing
On Thursday, April 7, 2022, I’ll have the honor of providing the keynote address at Lifepath Systems’ fundraiser called “Sweet Dreams”.
Lifepath Systems’ mission is to serve individuals and families impacted by behavioral health, intellectual or developmental challenges, resulting in stronger communities.
LifePath Systems is the designated behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities authority for Collin County. They operate as a unit of local government and a not-for-profit center. They receive federal, state, and local funding to provide essential mental health, substance use, intellectual and developmental disability services to families and individuals. LifePath has been in operation since 1986.
As NAMI North Texas continues to evolve, we will also continue to partner with and maintain an alliance with organizations that promote a solid foundation to assist individuals and families needing mental-health assistance.
LifePath Systems focuses on four service area: crisis; child & family; adults; and intellectual & developmental disabilities.
During my remarks that evening I’ll address the aforementioned areas and provide a few personal experiences that lead me to lead NAMI North Texas as its president and serve on the board of a few others such as Hugs Café in McKinney, Texas.
For example, during my pro football career one of my training-camp roommates died by suicide not long after playing pro football. His death had an impact on me as I knew him as a gentle and kind person who would do just about anything for everybody.
As tragic is that was, I’d like to think with his death I will continue to shine light on prevention, support, and intervention. And perhaps, my involvement in this area will, in some small way, provide comfort and hope to those who may decide that living is always the best option because we do care and are concerned about each other as brothers and sisters.
For more information on LifePath Systems, please visit www.LifePathSystems.org.
President's Message | March 2022
Expansion of Monthly Meetings is a Moral Imperative
NAMI North Texas was awarded the honor of having Social Venture Partners (SVP) Dallas to aid us for a year. SVP are volunteers, parents, community leaders, philanthropists – a global network of local partners connecting passion and purpose. They see the chasm between the challenges they face today as a society and the scale at which they are engaging those challenges.
SVP is assisting us in developing a strategic plan that will allow us to expand our mental-health outreach to the communities of North Dallas, Denton County, and Rockwall County. We are also working on strengthening our partnership with NAMI Dallas, Southern Sector (the local NAMI affiliate for Southern Dallas County).
One of the ways we plan to do that is to bring together a board-based coalition of stakeholders who historically understand the needs and desires of the communities they serve.
Another organization assisting us is the Center for Nonprofit Management. They strive to strengthen communities by providing professional consulting and resources to assist non-profit organizations in developing a business-like framework to seek donors and supporters who believe in a particular mission.
As we begin re-implementing in-person programming, we’ll explore ways to hold monthly meetings in more than one location each month; expand the frequency of speakers we use to discuss certain topics such as autism disorder, schizophrenia, and other disorders.
The chair of the strategic planning committee is Dr. Joseph Guillory, who is a Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. His committee was formed just under a year ago to begin laying the groundwork for what’s taking place today. Also on the committee is our programs/education chair Ms. Nicole Bowers, a social worker for the Plano Police Department.
We’re excited about this direction and hope we continue to provide the kind of services necessary to serve and service our communities.
President's Message | February 2022
As a former professional football player, I have access to mental health resources. The NFL and the NFL Players Association have teamed up to create a mental-health resource for former and current players to seek assistance should that need arise. It’s a free service to us and our family.
I use those resources whenever necessary or even just to check in to have a conversation about where I am in life and what’s going on.
Last week NAMI North Texas began a training program to provide a completely confidential, no-cost, stigma-free mental health support network for law enforcement (and eventually all first responders and their families).
By design, it addresses the most prominent reasons first responders tend not to seek mental health care; social and professional stigma, fear of demotion or job loss, inability to find a provider capable of relating to the repetitive trauma that provokes the need for a mental health professional. This program will be a completely confidential first step to mental health care, making it easier for first responders to seek help. Peer Supporters will also serve as bridges to professional mental health services. They will be trained to recognize when a fellow officer needs more than they are trained to offer and help them connect with a therapist, psychiatrist or other professional service who has experience working with first responders.
I’ve always treated law enforcement with respect, and yes, even under some difficult circumstances, because they too have families and their priority is to provide a service to the community, and to protect and serve.
NAMI NTX President