Lone Star Depression Challenge

Winning the $10 million Lone Star Prize in 2021 was only the beginning for the Lone Star Depression Challenge and the wide-scale expansion of its three proven initiatives that will ultimately free over one million Texans from depression and offer best-in-class preventive care to over 10 million. In 2022, the Meadows Institute extended the reach of this visionary movement to touch a broader swath of the Lone Star State, from El Paso to Houston and from North Texas to the Rio Grande Valley.

The early success of the Challenge’s Cloudbreak Initiative in North Texas — which is integrating mental health care directly into provider care (with a focus on the proven models of Collaborative Care, or CoCM, and Measurement-Based Care, or MBC) — became the template for replicating that success, reaching a total of 18 health systems.

The Cloudbreak Initiative also served as a catalyst for additional funding and related projects. Through the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, the Texas Legislature allocated $7 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to expand CoCM and MBC to eight Texas pediatric health systems.

Additionally, thanks to the generosity of the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation and the community dedication of the Amarillo Area Foundation, the Institute was able to partner with all three major health systems in the Panhandle to lead and accelerate CoCM implementation in the region.

Finally, the December 2022 federal omnibus legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Biden allocated up to $60 million a year to support similar integration efforts — legislation that Texas Representative Lizzy Fletcher — modeled to a large degree on the Lone Star Depression Challenge.

EMPOWER — another of the Challenge’s areas of emphasis designed to expand the state’s workforce by developing and deploying community health workers trained in mental health care — laid the foundation for further reach into Spanish-speaking communities through the translation and cultural adaptation of the EMPOWER training curriculum. These efforts will ultimately create a trusted, effective group of health workers who can provide care to communities that are today underserved.

The third leg of the Challenge, The Path Forward, continued to engage with employers — the largest purchasers of private health insurance – at both the national and regional levels. In partnership with the Dallas/Fort Worth Business Group on Health, The Path Forward launched a series of roundtable discussions with crucial decision makers, employer benefits managers, to share opportunities for leveraging their significant purchasing power to advance mental health priorities.

In the second half of 2022, The Path Forward received a $1.8 million multi-year grant from The Goodness Web to extend its work and allow more states to begin to implement best practice depression care, following Texas’ lead to help the nation advance mental health care.

The Cloudbreak Initiative also served as a catalyst for additional funding and related projects.