Uvalde Response

The May 24, 2022, shooting at Robb Elementary left the residents of Uvalde shattered, with local leaders working to support an entire community of traumatized children and grieving families. In Austin and Washington, D.C., policymakers were asking how it happened, how to best help Uvalde recover, and how to make sure it would never happen again.

While no one can ever be fully prepared for the deep pain, sorrow, and anger following a mass tragedy, our expertise and experience assisting recovery efforts after the Santa Fe shootings and Hurricane Harvey meant our teams were uniquely situated to respond. From providing on-the-ground training for the clinicians caring for survivors to developing policy recommendations to prevent future tragedies, the Meadows Institute staff was ready to answer the call.

Almost immediately after the shooting, the Institute was asked by state and national leaders to provide information and recommendations. In Texas, the Institute helped to guide the mental health component of Governor Greg Abbott’s initial $100 million allocation for Uvalde’s recovery. In Washington, U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s team looked to our experts for input and guidance, with much of it serving as the building blocks of the Senator’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which boosted student mental health funding by $188 million.

From the beginning, the Trauma and Grief (TAG) Center worked closely with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the Uvalde CISD, and the Uvalde Behavioral Health Coalition, taking the lead in training school- and community-based Uvalde clinicians in evidence-based interventions, with ongoing trainings planned for 2023. Throughout the year, the TAG Center assisted with the overall on-the-ground mental health response, developing and sharing best practice guidelines to help young people impacted by the tragedy.

Through the Texas Law Enforcement Peer Support Network, the Institute’s Health and Public Safety Team offered assistance to first responders who were on the scene, the police within the community of Uvalde, and the broader statewide law enforcement presence deployed to Uvalde.

As part of the commitment to help Uvalde recover and inform recommendations for the upcoming legislative session, the state funded a comprehensive regional needs assessment for the Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disability (MHDD) Centers, the local mental health authority whose service area includes Uvalde County. Local leaders turned to the Institute with one important directive: The recommendations must be bigger than Uvalde. They expressed that the assessment should be a blueprint for broader change, something that could also help other communities like theirs across the state.

“The final report includes key findings and actionable recommendations that will address the regional needs for mental health services in our communities,” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, Jr. and County Judge William Mitchell wrote in a joint letter after the assessment was presented.

The assessment and its recommendations served as the foundation for key legislative recommendations and funding requests from both the community of Uvalde and HHSC.

As the state continued to look for ways to protect all Texans and improve school safety, lawmakers continued to call on Institute experts, including Andy Keller, to provide trusted insight and guidance on necessary programs and funding to effectively help young people and families struggling with mental health needs.

During the interim, state leaders invested $105.5 million to increase school safety and bolster mental health care, including nearly $6 million to expand Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT), nearly $5 million to add seven Multisystemic Therapy (MST) teams in the state, and $950,000 to expand Coordinated Specialty Care capacity.

Uvalde is strong and resilient. However, the course of Uvalde’s recovery will be measured in years, if not decades. For us, it was an honor to be a part of their efforts to heal and rebuild.


federal funding to
boost student mental


state funding allocated in June 2022
for school safety and children’s mental health services in the initial response to the Uvalde tragedy.

Mommy's Got You

Uvalde is strong and resilient. However, the course of Uvalde’s recovery will be measured in years, if not decades. For us, it was an honor to be a part of their efforts to heal and rebuild.

Uvalde Timeline


  • May 24: 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered in a horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. 
  • May 25: The TAG Center worked with HHSC to assist in coordination of the on-the-ground mental health response and preparing clinicians being deployed to Uvalde.
  • May 27: The Institute provided a requested briefing for U.S. Senator John Cornyn’s staff.
  • The Hackett Center identified training and resources that can be scaled within the Uvalde community.


  • June 22: Andy Keller testified before the Texas Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans about data showing the vast majority of mental illnesses do not correlate with violence, and that treatment alleviates the risk in those that do.
  • June 25: President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, providing additional funding to address the child and youth mental health crisis.
  • June 28: Texas announced an influx of $105.5 million in funding for increasing school safety and expanding mental health care.
  • June 28: Andy Keller testified before the Texas Senate Finance Committee on the improvements Texas has already made in mental health care.


  • Hill Country MHDD Centers engaged the Meadows Institute to evaluate mental health services in the Uvalde community and prepare a needs assessment for submission to the Texas Legislature.
  • July 15: HHSC selected the TAG Center to lead the Training Subcommittee of the Uvalde Behavioral Health Coalition.


  • August 1–2: TAG Center hosted a learning collaborative in Uvalde on Trauma and Grief Component Therapy.
  • August 8: Andy Keller provided invited testimony before a joint hearing of the House Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety and the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, discussing the need for more resources to address mental health needs in young people, including MST teams.


  • December 20: The Meadows Institute delivered the assessment to Hill Country MHDD.