MH GuideNavigating the behavioral health delivery system in Texas can be a daunting prospect for even the most informed providers and clinicians. For consumers, policymakers and families, the need for comprehensive information on the mental health services provided through multiple state agencies is critical for informed policy decision making.

The Hogg Foundation isn’t just a grantmaking foundation. We are also committed to educating the public about the mental health landscape in Texas. Our just released report, A Guide to Understanding Mental Health Systems and Services in Texas 2012, is intended to serve as a useful tool to understanding the Texas behavioral health system. The report aims to provide a general overview of the behavioral health care delivery system and the services provided under the various agencies that make up our state’s complex system of behavioral health services. Our hope is that this report will live on as a useful reference for people who wish to better understand the programs that exist to serve those with mental health or substance use conditions.

The report is divided into six main parts:

  • National Context: A basic overview of national activities related to behavioral health services.
  • The Texas Environment: A summary of what is happening at the state level with respect to behavioral health services, including a description of new programs and organizational approaches to care. Certain recent developments in Texas, some of which will require action during the 2013 session of the Texas Legislature, are discussed.
  • Public Behavioral Health Services in Texas: There are multiple state agency programs that provide a range of behavioral health services. We summarize these in this section.
  • Medicare and Private Insurance: A description of benefits and requirements for behavioral health services under Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.
  • Best Practices and Policy Priorities: A discussion of behavioral health best practices and current policy priorities.
  • Mental Health Workforce Shortages: An overview of the current mental health workforce and strategies for addressing the growing shortage of mental health service providers in Texas.

It is fitting that this report is hot off the presses in time for the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature, for it is our hope that this guide will serve as an educational and advocacy tool that will help to identify the challenges and opportunities inherent in the Texas behavioral health system for the benefit of policymakers, mental health professionals and consumers.

We welcome comments and corrections as well as ideas for improving this guide. Comments should reference the applicable section and page number(s), and we ask that all factual corrections include citations or additional information. All comments and suggestions should be emailed to