SaferCare Texas empowers Community Health Workers to complete HSC Mental Wellness microcredential

Tarri WyreTarri Wyre saw the growing need to expand her mental health education. The community health worker and ambulatory care manager for Memorial Hermann Health in Houston turned to the Mental Wellness microcredential, offered by The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s SaferCare Texas, the university’s patient-safety-focused department.

“The global awareness of mental health issues is growing, and public health organizations continue to adapt to address these needs,” Wyre said.

An estimated 57.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States had a mental health condition in 2021, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

In Texas, 3,347,000 adults had a mental health condition — a number that represents three times the population of Austin.

SaferCare Texas’ interim director Dr. Teresa Wagner developed the Mental Wellness microcredential with the purpose of educating and equipping providers with the tools to help expand the workforce skills in assisting patients experiencing acute mental health issues. If the issue is more in-depth beyond the scope of a provider’s practice, participants also learn appropriate referral methods to licensed mental health professionals.

“We piloted this opportunity to upskill CHWs knowing they are in the communities reaching people who need short-term coaching to navigate a mental health impact such as grief, job loss or overwhelming life circumstance,” Wagner said.

Due to the overwhelmed mental health care system, it is often difficult to access short-term or any assistance in areas lacking access or insurance to cover these services.

Wyre encourages other community health workers to complete the micro-credential to remain current with evolving public health priorities.

“Public health is increasingly recognizing the interconnectedness of physical and mental health,” Wyre said. “Completing a mental wellness micro-credential equips me with the tools to address mental health within the broader framework of public health, therefore allowing me professionally to take a more comprehensive and operative approach to healthcare promotion and disease prevention.”

To register for the Mental Wellness Microcredential and view the many microcredentials HSC has to offer, click here.

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