Transforming Lives - The Newsletter of The Harris Center Issue 1 - Summer 2016 - Page 2

myStrength The health club for your mind™ The Harris Center is implementing a new tool that will support wellness for the individuals we serve, their families, our staff and the community at large it’s called myStrength. As a supplement to the services we provide that will be accessible 24/7, consumers of The Harris Center will be able to learn new ways to stay healthy between therapy appointments, and/or practice the skills learned during group sessions. Ana Oyarvide is the recovery manager at The Harris Center. She is leading the myStrength project implementation team. According to Ana, “The program will help empower the individuals we serve before, during and after the time they are in our care. myStrength is an efficient and effective way to increase access to care and will be a great addition to the services our agency offers." The safe, secure and HIPPA-compliant myStrength web and mobile tools will help users by providing personalized inspiration for their recovery to get better and stay mentally strong. Family members, staff and the community at large can also create a myStrength account through The Harris Center's license and enjoy the benefits of the program. Overall access to the program will be available by August 2016. The Harris Center Public Affairs team worked with a media crew from the Mental Health Channel to support its efforts to produce a special documentary that highlights the intersection between mental illness and the criminal justice system. A segment of this special features Dr. Regenia Hicks, Director of the Harris County Jail Diversion program, the story of one program participant, and the support provided by Case Manager Joseph Eaglin and Peer Specialist Joan Green of The Harris Center. A clip of this segment is available online. You may watch it via this link: This clip, accompanied by a moderated discussion, will air on Texas PBS stations this summer. Letter from Steven Schnee, Ph.D. Executive Director of The Harris Center Dear FriendsWelcome to the inaugural issue of Transforming Lives, the newsletter of The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD (formerly the Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County). I invite you to read through this publication to learn more about the innovative work being done by our dedicated staff and contract providers to better ensure that persons with mental illness and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities may live with dignity as fully functioning, participating and contributing members of our community. It has been my privilege to serve as executive director of The Harris Center for almost 24 years. As I look back on this time, I feel a great sense of fulfillment and pride in knowing that The Harris Center has evolved into an Agency that provided high-quality, innovative and cost-effective services to over 48,000 individuals last year alone. I also feel a deep sense of gratitude to our board members, staff, local leaders, collaborators and supporters because without you, our work would not be possible. Most importantly, I am grateful to those individuals who we serve and their families for all that they bring to our Agency and for the trust they place in turning to us for assistance. Whether I’m watching the Texas Home Living Choir perform or listening to one of our peer mentors deliver an inspirational speech, I am constantly amazed and in awe of the strength and generosity displayed in so many ways. As many of you know, I recently announced my intention to retire from my position in 2017. While this decision was not made lightly, I am very much looking forward to the next phase of my life and appreciate all of the well-wishes received so far. However, there is still much work to be done before that happens. Please know that all of us at The Harris Center are working diligently to ensure that this upcoming transition goes as smoothly as possible so that the individuals we serve and other stakeholders are impacted as little as possible. My commitment to you remains the same as always, which is that I pledge to continue to diligently work to better meet the ever-increasing need for mental health and IDD services and supports in our community. Again, thank you for your interest in The Harris Center and your support of our efforts to continue Transforming Lives. Sincerely, Steven B. Schnee, Ph.D. Executive Director Mental Health Matters In Criminal Justice A special documentary