As the former Williamson County Mobile Outreach Team transitioned to assisting Round Rock residents, many have asked what the county is doing to provide services. We continue to partner with Bluebonnet Trails, our local mental health agency and community center for Region 5, and are expanding and expanding in eight counties, including Williamson. The focus is on providing services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, severe mental illness and substance use disorders.
While the media and politicians have blamed mental health crises for the recent shootings, many of those involved have no signs of a mental health crisis but are clearly not stable individuals. Williamson County strives to connect our citizens to the most appropriate treatment whenever possible in crisis situations.
The Bluebonnet Trails Mobile Crisis Outreach Team
The MCOT teams have previously worked with the county’s MOT group of social workers to provide on-site services and response to mental health crises in the county, including in the schools. This group is now conducting crisis assessments covering all but the city of Round Rock in this effort. Adults or children may be placed in recovery centers or referred for caseworkers and programs with Bluebonnet staff.
support for youth
With financial support from Williamson County and using $8.1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, Bluebonnet Trails is launching its brand new Therapeutic Youth Recreation program, serving children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 17. This 16-bed, 24-hour recreation center serves youth for as little as a few hours or as long as 30 days at its Round Rock facility.
Participants receive comprehensive care, including innovative therapies, care coordination, family partner services, case management, psychiatric evaluation, medication management, and more.
The facility opened on June 1st
Rock Springs from Georgetown
Williamson County partially supported Bluebonnet Trails with $3 million from ARPA funds to partner with Rock Springs, a private facility for youth and adults with mental health and addiction problems, to build a wing that will add 24 beds to the existing one Facility with 72 beds offers crisis support for young people. Despite supply chain concerns and delays, officials there hope to be open by the end of December. An additional $1.3 million in ARPA funding is earmarked to support ongoing operations of this expanded service.
Law Enforcement Support
The sheriff’s office has long provided a remote psychiatrist who is available for telemedicine or in-person calls at the prison. In January, the Commissioners Court voted to fund a full-time doctor with experience in psychiatry to assist the prison’s correctional team. This PA would be able to reduce the time and cost of conducting physical and mental examinations, and introduce medication when necessary, to stabilize the inmate, reduce stress for everyone, and expedite the court process for the individual.
Sheriff Mike Gleason reinstated the Crisis Intervention Team that had been disbanded by the previous administration. These are prison officers with special training to deal effectively with people in mental health crisis. This team reduces the number of people being transported to an emergency room or jail through diversionary services provided by Bluebonnet Community Services, Georgetown Behavioral, or Rock Springs. This is the one team that can strip an individual of their rights and enforce involuntary obligations outside of the court system – a move not to be taken lightly.
Support for adults in court
A judicial care coordination for inmates was set up for inmates and other persons involved in the court for medical, social and psychiatric care. The county added a prison-based care coordinator and a court-based care coordinator to reduce the time between the person’s admission to prison and their first court hearing. Additionally, both facilitate the individual’s connection with community support for their condition, which reduces prison recidivism rates. Our 26th Circuit Court, led by Judge Donna King, maintains a special mental health registry.
Support for adults in crisis
The Lott Building in the San Gabriel Park area has undergone a major renovation to become a 23-hour drop-in center for adults in crisis. In partnership with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and the CIT, adults in crisis may be brought to this center for medical and psychological evaluation. There are 16 beds and a large open space for board games, rest and television, as the most appropriate level of care is determined by a team of 27 mental health and primary care professionals who provide 24-hour support to this facility. Individuals are transitioned to the designated level of care in a conscious and safe manner. The renovation was funded with funds from the CARES Act. Bluebonnet Trails staff oversee this process.
Terry Cook is County Commissioner of Precinct 1, which includes most of Round Rock, most of Austin in Williamson County, and part of southern Cedar Park.