Disaster Recovery Collaboration

In the weeks and months following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, we worked primarily with UNICEF USA, Mental Health America of Greater Houston, Rice University, the Baker Institute, Texas Children’s Hospital, and Harris Health System to address the mental, emotional, and intellectual shocks and stresses the storm presented across the city. Namely, we organized, provided, and promoted trauma, mindfulness, and mental health training for K-12 educators, Baker Institute training for early childhood educators and parents, and Kognito At-Risk online trauma training for educators. We partnered with the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to purchase and distribute “After the Storm” books to children to offset the missed in-class instruction. To mitigate the emotional and mental trauma of the storm, displacement, and loss, we coordinated with the Trauma and Grief Center, Journey of Hope, and FEMA to organize Harris Center Crisis Counselors, Save the Children, Trauma and Grief Component Therapy, and mobile therapy units.

In the fall of 2018, the Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston, in collaboration with UNICEF USA and the Mayor’s Office of Education, held a series of community conversations in each of Houston’s City Council Districts to learn about the social and emotional challenges preventing youth from succeeding in the classroom post-Harvey. We used the information and experiences gathered at these 11 community meetings to make policy recommendations during the 2019 Legislative Session.