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09/15/2010 — NurseWeek Magazine Names Carson Easley as Regional Winner

NurseWeek Magazine Names Carson Easley as Regional Winner
At an event dubbed the "Oscars of Nursing," MHMRA of Harris County nursing director Carson Easley, MS, RN, was recently recognized as the South Central region's leading nurse in the Advancing & Leading the Profession category. The Nursing Excellence Awards gala, hosted by NurseWeek magazine for more than 10 years, is part of a national program that highlights those who have made extraordinary contributions to patients, each other and the profession. A panel of judges reviewed hundreds of blind nominations and selected five winning entries per category. Winners were announced at the gala on August 27.

Easley progresses to the next round of the competition, where one winner from all 14 regions will be named Nurse of the Year for 2010.

"I'm incredibly honored to be recognized alongside so many other outstanding nurses," Easley said. "I can remember looking at the NurseWeek magazine over the years and reading about the Nursing Excellence winners, but I never dreamed it would happen to me. I'm grateful for the support and encouragement from my colleagues, and I'm also thankful to have worked with so many wonderful patients and their families over the years."

"Caring for others as a nurse has taught me a tremendous amount about the resiliency of the human spirit," Easley continued. "Particularly when the condition is severe, mental illness can be devastating to the individual and their family members. It's especially important to help these patients and their loved ones maintain hope."

She has been with MHMRA for 10 years, and currently oversees the professional and clinical services of 94 registered and licensed vocational nurses within the programs and services provided by the Agency.

Easley has been instrumental in establishing standards of nursing practice and developing operational procedures, infrastructure and management of the full-time nursing staff, relief nursing pool and infection control practices as the agency's second director of nursing in its 45-year history. She has also assisted in the development of strategies for the recruitment, hiring and retention of nurses.

In addition to her role with MHMRA, Easley has been an adjunct clinical instructor of mental health nursing at Texas Woman's University since 2007. She has more than 10 years of experience as a classroom and clinical instructor for students enrolled in RN programs. Easley now leverages her relationships with Houston-area colleges and universities to facilitate use of the Agency as a clinical learning site for students enrolled in local nursing programs.

National winners will be announced in November. Other recognition categories include excellence in clinical care, community service, management, mentoring and teaching.

06/28/2010 — MHMRA of Harris County Named One of Houston's Best Places to Work

MHMRA of Harris County Named One of Houston's Best Places to Work

MHMRA of Harris County was recently ranked number 11 in the Best Places To Work contest hosted by the Houston Business Journal. The Agency was honored along with 13 other organizations in the 'Companies with 500+ Employees' category at a June 10th event. This marks the first time MHMRA participated in the contest, now in its tenth year.
"MHMRA is deeply honored to be recognized as one of the best places to work in Houston," MHMRA Executive Director Steven Schnee, Ph.D, said. "As a leading healthcare provider in mental health and intellectual and developmental disability services and supports, our team has served hundreds of thousands of Harris County residents for more than forty years. We are proud to be recognized alongside other outstanding businesses as a great place to work."

The rankings are determined by scoring surveys from staff. Employees of nominated companies complete a 37-question online survey that uses a scale of 1 to 6 (from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree") for each question. Survey question categories include team effectiveness, trust in senior leaders, feeling valued, manager effectiveness and compensation and benefits.

An independent firm takes the raw scores generated from survey responses to get an average, and indexes that score to a 100-point scale. Businesses are ranked and finalists are selected in each category according to overall scores. More than 340 MHMRA employees participated in the survey.

"Without the continued dedication of staff and unwavering support of our Board of Trustees, this recognition wouldn't be possible," Dr. Schnee continued. "We believe that three elements are critical to success: respect for our consumers, their families and our employees; maintaining our reputation as a top-notch healthcare provider; and enjoying what we do on behalf of people with mental disabilities. MHMRA strives to excel at all of these things."

This year, 56 finalists were named Best Places to Work in Houston out of more than 125 companies that were nominated.

05/24/2010 — National Hurricane Preparedness Week: May 23-29, 2010

National Hurricane Preparedness Week: May 23-29, 2010

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Harris County Commissioners Court has declared May 23-29, 2010 as Hurricane Preparedness Week. The Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OHSEM) aims to educate people about the hazards of hurricanes, tropical storms, high winds, storm surge and flooding.

OHSEM urges everyone to start planning early. "Being prepared can reduce the fear, anxiety and the loss that accompany disasters," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "Having an emergency plan remains the most important tool to keep us safe."

Residents are urged to get a kit, make a plan and stay informed this hurricane season.
Your emergency supply kit should include:
  • NOAA weather radio and batteries
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Extra eye glasses
  • Bottled water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Clothing
  • Bedding
  • Medications
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Special products for babies, elderly and medically fragile family members
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Photo ID, important documents and records
If you live in an area threatened by storm surge - an EVACUATION ZONE - discuss evacuation plans with your family. Check with city or county officials to find out if your home is in an evacuation zone.

Make a checklist of preparations to be made before an evacuation and go over it with your family. Review it again when a storm is in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you plan to stay in a hotel or motel, make reservations and confirm your reservations before you leave. If you plan to stay in a shelter, bring what you need to be comfortable, including bedding and toys for kids.

Prepare an emergency kit for your pets and a plan for how to care for them when you are on the road and in a shelter or motel. Do not leave your pets behind!

"Refill and re-check supplies after every storm," said Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Sloan. "Depending on storm damage, some people may be able to return home in a matter of days, for others re-entry may take longer."

Finally, stay informed by monitoring the news media. Local officials will provide information about current conditions, evacuations and re-entry.

Get more hurricane preparedness information at OHSEM's web site www.hcoem.org and at the Governor's Division of Emergency Management www.txdps.state.tx.us/dem/pages/publicinformation.htm.

02/21/2010 — Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Free Webcasts

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Free Webcasts
MHFA Webcast Flyer
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Join MHMRA of Harris County for a series of free mental health awareness webcasts to mark "May is Mental Health Month". The webcasts are designed to help recognize the signs and symptoms of common mental illnesses, learn what you can do to connect people with mental illness to supports in the community, and identify peer and professional resources for help.
These Webcasts - presented during May 2010 are provided free of charge to Mental Health Care Staff and the community at large.
Topics to be covered include:
  • Understanding Depression
  • Understanding Anxiety Disorders
  • Understanding Psychosis, and
  • Understanding Substance Use Disorders
Certified Mental Health First Aid USA instructors will present the webcasts and are available to answer questions afterwards.

If you would like more information locally, please contact Suzette Sova or (713) 970-3996

Registration is required. Please see the flyer for complete details.

02/09/2010 — Mental Health First Aid Instructor Certification Course

Mental Health First Aid Instructor Certification Course
Join the MHMR Authority of Harris County and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare for a Mental Health First Aid Instructor Certification Course set for July 12-16, 2010 in Houston, TX.
This five day Instructor Certification Course introduces the interactive 12-hour Mental Health First Aid program, overviews adult learning styles and teaching strategies, and provides in-depth instruction on implementing and managing the program for diverse audiences.
Cost: Program tuition is $1,500 per instructor for the five-day training program. The cost includes:
  • Comprehensive five-day instruction, including individualized feedback and evaluation;
  • All materials needed to teach the 12-hour program - including an instructor resource kit and teaching notes;
  • Access to our instructor technical assistance website, with course handouts, program updates, and marketing templates;
  • Access to the instructor list serve, where new and established instructors convene to share best practices and to help evaluate the program; and
  • Ongoing technical assistance from the National Council, including program planning, marketing consultation and aid in applying for state/local CE credit.
Participants are responsible for their travel, lodging and meal expenses.
Instruction will take place at the MHMR Authority's facility located at:
MHMRA of Harris County Conference Center
7033 SW Freeway Houston Tx 77074
(Behind 7011 SW Freeway main MHMRA building)
Click for Map
There are several local hotel options near the training facility.

If you would like a list of Hotels in the area, Please contact Suzette Sova or (713) 970-3996

Click here for Application  

If your organization is interested in sending individuals to become certified Mental Health First Aid Instructors, please complete an application. This application gives us the opportunity to learn about your organization, any current training programs you may administer, and to understand how Mental Health First Aid will serve your community. Please return your organization's application by 5pm EST on May 17, 2010 to Susan Partain at susanp@thenationalcouncil.org.

For more information about Mental Health First Aid, visit www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org. Should you have any questions regarding this course or desire any additional information on the Mental Health First Aid program, please contact Susan Partain at susanp@thenationalcouncil.org, 202-684-7457 ext 232.

Mental Health First Aid USA is a collaboration between the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland State Department of Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health

8/26/2009 — Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
Brochure and Course Syllabus
Click to view
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the initial help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until professional appropriate treatment is received or the crisis resolves, much like that of CPR and First Aid is for physical emergencies.
The Mental Health division of MHMRA of Harris County is excited to bring Mental Health First Aid training to our agency and local community. This important educational effort goes a lot further than emergency intervention; it helps people understand the environment of fear and misjudgment facing individuals and families who experience mental illnesses and addiction. It will assist and educate the public of the associated stigma that surrounds mental illness and help move the community towards more and more recovery.
  • The course originally began in Australia and is now an evidenced based program
  • It was brought to the USA in 2008 and is now in 33 states and 9 countries!
  • The program targets the community as a whole including key professions such as law enforcement and other first responders, nursing home staff, and schools administration. Other participating entities include failt communities, employers and chambers of commerce, state policymakers, mental health advocacy organizations and families and the general public.
  • It will help the community to recognize someone who may be developing a mental health problem or helping someone in a mental health crisis.
  • The course teaches a 5 step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help individuals in crisis connect with appropriate professional care.
  • The participants will have the opportunity to participate in interactive exercises and apply the action plan throughout the course, as well as view informative and insightful videos.
  • The course will provide a book, educational materials, hand outs and videos with testimonials and statistics.
  • At the end of the course the participants will receive a 3yr certification in Mental Health First Aid.
  • A great deal of research supports the effectiveness of this training on a local, national, and international level.
If you are interested in the MHFA course, please contact:
Suzette Sova: suzette.sova@mhmraharris.org — (713) 970-7000
Mary MacGregor: mary.macgregor@mhmraharris.org — (713) 970-7000



The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD strives to provide high quality, efficient, and cost effective services
so that persons with mental disabilities may live with dignity as fully functioning, participating, and contributing members of our community,
regardless of their ability to pay based on a sliding scale rate schedule.

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