Category Archives: Mental Health

Suicide hotline calls rose by 65% after Spade, Bourdain deaths

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

After the deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, calls and texts to crisis hotlines spiked dramatically.

Trained counselors at more than 150 crisis centers in the United States fielded 65% more phone calls over the previous week for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the organization’s director of communications, Frances Gonzalez, said. And the Crisis Text Line saw a 116% increase in volume, according to Liz Eddy, the text line’s spokeswoman.

Read more from CNN/MSN…


Courtesy of CNN


Mental Health Matters fundraiser to feature speaker Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Ty M. Carter


MHM 2016Staff Sgt. Ty Carter will be the featured speaker at the 2nd Annual Mental Health Matters Fundraising Event on April 28 at 6:00 p.m. at Reflection Bay Event Center, located at 12234 Shadow Creek Pkwy.

The event is hosted by Counseling Connections for Change, Inc. a non-denominational, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. “Our vision is to strengthen mental health in Brazoria County and our mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy individuals, families and community,” said Chief Development Officer Charlotte Selvera. The event precludes Mental Health Month in May.

Carter received the Medal of Honor for actions during the battle at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan. An outpost in Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province was surrounded by almost 300 insurgents who opened fire with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades the morning of October 3, 2009. Fifty-three Americans were stationed there; eight were killed in battle and 25 were wounded, including Carter, who suffered hearing loss, shrapnel injuries and a concussion.

Carter will share his struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress. He advises those suffering from post-traumatic stress to “get help.” While difficult, Staff Sgt. Carter adds that counseling is the only way to heal. Counseling Connections is committed to bringing mental health awareness to the community and reducing the stigma of mental illness.

“The greatest desire of Counseling Connections for Change, Inc. is to provide counseling and healthy relationship training to our clients without the burden of financial constraints,” said Chief Executive Officer Dawn Lawless, LCSW, LSOTP.

“Unfortunately, many of our neighbors are without healthcare benefits or receive state-funded benefits, which create an expense shortage between benefit reimbursement rates and operating costs,” said Lawless. “In 2015, we served 1,145 clients. We had to turn away 1,084 clients. The need for services is great. We have capacity issues. 26% of our services were provided to those who qualify for government assistance, including Medicaid, military benefits and the uninsured. Many of our clients depend on outside community support. Sponsor and individual contributions will help us continue to meet the needs of our clients,” she added.

All of the therapists with Counseling Connections are licensed through the state or are working on a graduate degree in the mental health field. “We integrate Christian principles with evidence-based interventions,” said Lawless.

Information about Counseling Connections for Change, Inc. as well as ticket and sponsorship information may be found at

Veterans Day Walk funds presented to Pearland groups


This week, HIKE for Mental Health completed the distribution of the net proceeds from the Pearland Veterans Day Walk by presenting checks to two local Pearland organizations.

VFW Post 7109 received a total of $2,130 to support their efforts to become a more integral part of the Pearland community. Extra thanks to Jonathan, Maegan and many others who provided the BBQ lunch for the Veterans Day walkers!


HIKE for Mental Health also presented $1,600 to Dawn Lawless and the team at Counseling Connections for Change, a nonprofit counseling center in Pearland. They will use the money to continue their community educations programs. Last year, they provided suicide prevention workshops for Pearland schools. Thanks for Dawn, Pam and Charlotte for help with this year’s walk.


Nurse Rosa Klocksiem contacted HIKE for Mental Health several ago asking for help with materials for the unit’s patients, who include veterans as well as active duty service men and women suffering with PTSD and other inner challenges. They have raised money every Veterans Day since then to buy books, videos, pamphlets and other materials that Rosa needs.

These two distributions compete the disbursement of the net proceeds from the 2015 Pearland Veterans Day Walk, which began with sending much needed materials to the Behavioral Health floor of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, TX, last week.

After the most recent materials arrived, Rosa sent the following note:

Dear Leo,

Some more packages arrived and I am sending you a photo of active duty staff that I am honored to work with. The ward is a locked unit for inpatient care to provide safety and structure for warriors in behavioral health crisis. All your donations help us to serve them. We would not have those therapeutic books to offer if it was not for you and your volunteers. Thank you so much!

With Utmost Respect and Appreciation,

We extend our thanks to the walkers, donors and sponsors, including MHI Compressor Corporation, Marvin Monk, the City of Pearland, Pearland City Councilman Tony Carbone, Pearland City Councilman Derrick Reed, Pearland City Councilman Gary Moore, Pearland City Councilman Keith Ordeneaux, Pearland City Councilman Greg Hill, Cooling Tower Depot, H-E-B, Glen & Linda Rider, Pearland Democrats, Nancy Kozanecki, The Ivy District, David L. Smith Realty/The Legacy Group, Stacy Adams, Buck Stevens, Matt Sebesta, Gringo’s Tex-Mex, and Mike’s Tri City Icehouse. We also thank the Kolache Shoppe and Maine-ly Sandwiches for providing snacks for our volunteers and exhibitors.

We are already starting to plan the 2016 walk. If you are interested in helping, please contact Leo at or call 603 801-5662.

Allsup Provides Disability Screenings and Return to Work Information at National Alliance on Mental Illness Gulf Coast Conference

About one-third of individuals in the U.S. who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits has a diagnosed mental disorder, according to Allsup, a nationwide SSDI representation company. Allsup will provide SSDI and veteran’s disability appeal screenings at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Gulf Coast Mental Health Awareness Conference at the Doyle Center, Texas City, Thursday, Oct. 8th.

Tai Venuti, Allsup’s manager of Strategic Alliances will present the workshop, “What You Need to Know About Obtaining SSDI and Using the Ticket to Work Program.”

According to NAMI, work can be an essential step on the path to wellbeing and recovery for people living with mental illness by providing increased income, structure, a sense of purpose and opportunities to learn and interact with others.

“For people living with mental illness, making the connection between SSDI and financial stability, access to treatment and even successful re-entry into the workforce, can be a game-changer,” said Venuti.  “Learning about Social Security Disability eligibility requirements, benefits, and the application process are investments that can help people avoid or mitigate crises.”

SSDI is a payroll tax-funded, federal insurance program. A portion of the FICA taxes workers pay is set aside for SSDI (as well as Social Security retirement and Medicare). To see Allsup’s explanation of the full range of SSDI benefits, including return-to-work incentives, click here.

The conference features more than 20 speakers with information relevant to individuals living with mental illness, their families, general public, professionals and the faith community.  For professionals, 5.0 CEUs are available.

“We want to take this opportunity to invite everyone to the upcoming annual Mental Health Awareness Conference,” said Jeanette Taylor, NAMI Gulf Coast executive director. “This year’s conference promises to be bigger and better with opportunities that you won’t want to miss. So many families and professionals call us and insist on programing that encompasses mind, body and spirit. We have heard you and we are excited to include a new faith-based track; the hope, a more complete family on the road to recovery.”

Karen Winters Schwartz, a strong advocate for mental illness awareness, and a sought after speaker and author will be the keynote speaker. Winters Schwartz knows firsthand how mental illness can devastate family.

To register for the conference, go to or call (281) 585-3100 or (888)554-2264.

For more information on SSDI eligibility, call the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (888) 841-2126 or visit

Memorial Hermann PaRC 10th Annual Ride for Recovery will celebrate National Recovery Month


direct-mail_6-x-4_FRONT2015The Memorial Hermann Prevention and Recovery Center (PaRC) will hold its 10th Annual Ride for Recovery on Sunday, Sept. 13. The organized motorcycle ride, which covers nearly 100 miles of scenic roadway, is held in recognition of National Recovery Month and donates all proceeds to local addiction treatment facilities.

The Ride for Recovery is also a way of educating the community about addiction and removing some of the shame and stigma attached to the disease, according to Jane Barnes, MBA, LCDC, CRPS, Associate Vice President of Operations at PaRC, and one of the event’s founders and organizers.

“We often hear the negative stories about alcoholism and drug abuse, but there are a lot of positive stories of redemption and recovery,” Barnes said. “Houston has a huge community of people in recovery who have turned their lives around.”

A first of its kind in the Houston area, the Ride for Recovery has raised more than $75,000 in support for local recovery programs and operations since it began. The event is organized by PaRC and the PaRC Alumni Association, and has been attended by as many as 100 motorcyclists and non-bikers, who are also invited to show their support.

This year, the goal is to raise $25,000 for The Men’s Center and AWay Out Women’s Center of Pasadena, which reach out to those who suffer from alcoholism and addiction.

The Ride begins at PaRC, located at 3043 Gessner (3 miles north of I-10 and 1 mile east of Beltway 8, between Kempwood and Clay on Gessner) at 9 a.m. and will take riders through parts of Harris, Montgomery and Waller Counties. Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. and the riders will be greeted with barbecue, live music and door prizes upon their return to PaRC at noon.

Sponsorship packages for the event are still available. Registration prior to the event is $30 per person and $50 per couple. Same-day registration is $35 per person and $60 per couple.

Riders and attendees can register at Those who are unable to attend the event but wish to make a contribution can do so online or by phone the PaRC at 713-329-7272. Potential sponsors should call Barnes at 713-329-7555.

Life Skills House Hosts Identity Matters Workshop

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 2.48.00 PMLife Skills House is hosting an “Identity Matters” workshop.

We believe that one’s success in life is largely attributed to one’s perception of self. How we think and feel about ourselves and our abilities will generally dictate our actions and eventually determine our destiny. Unfortunately, with different life encounters, our true identity tends to get somewhat distorted. We feel that if we can help people adjust their mindsets and replace faulty thought patterns with the truth, then there is no limit to their potential accomplishments.

We aim to help them tap into and unleash their God-given gifts and talents. We also want to help them understand the importance of safeguarding their identity through practicing effective safety measures on social media. Additionally, we aim to help them take a proactive approach in safeguarding their children as well. 

Silver Alert Issued In Fort Bend County

Milburn, RobertThe Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is seeking help in finding a senior citizen who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. A Silver Alert has been issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Sometime between 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11 and 7 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, Robert Milburn left his home in the Fairpark Village subdivision near Rosenberg and is believed to be headed north.

Milburn, 77, is 6-feet, 3-inches tall and weighs about 240 pounds. He is bald and has a long gray beard and a ponytail.
He is driving a silver 2013 Hyundai Tucson and he is believed to be traveling north on Interstate 45.

He recently moved to the Rosenberg area from McKinney and he has driven north one time before.

If anyone sees Milburn, they are asked to contact the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 281-341-4665.

Robert Milburn - Hyundai Tucson