Denton County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved the hiring of two full-time mental health navigators under the direction of the Denton County Public Health (DCPH) to launch a new program making it easier for individuals to find available resources to address non-emergency mental health concerns.
As part of DCPH Links, navigators will assess the help-seeker’s need, make direct referrals to service providers, follow up to assess if the linkage was successful, build and maintain an online mental health resource directory, and track community assets and gaps in services.
DCPH Links will make initial contact with those seeking mental health services within three business days. The program is anticipated to come online this summer.
Anyone experiencing a mental health emergency is asked to call the crisis line at 1-800-762-0157.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobbie J. Mitchell said the idea of navigators for mental health started when officials noted an increasing number of inmates with mental health issues. “They decided the best decision was to have navigators, find out what problems existed and find the resources needed to address the issues,” she said.
DCPH was determined as the best place for the navigators to position the program in a manner in which, once funding from the American Rescue Plan Act ran out, DCPH would be able to find additional grant funds to cover costs of the mental health navigators, Commissioner Mitchell said.
When Commissioner Mitchell learned of a 5-year-old who ran in to traffic because he no longer wanted to live, “it touched my heart,” she said.
“We, here in Denton County, can help,” Commissioner Mitchell said.
Denton County Judge Andy Eads echoed her sentiments, adding: “We realize there is a need for more mental health resources. Hopefully, this one-stop-shop navigator system will be able to walk them through the process and help them seek treatment and reduce the ping-pong effect of bouncing around.”