Recognize & Rise is a community awareness initiative led by Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County,  a broad coalition of more than 100 local agencies, education and health systems, government, and individuals working to address the mental health needs of this community.  The vision of Mental Health Connection is to create a seamless mental health system by building a coordinated system of care, addressing emerging needs and developing long-term solutions. That focus includes creating a healthier, more trauma-informed and resilient community.

The Recognize & Rise campaign is designed to strengthen our community by educating the public on trauma, toxic stress and adversity, and showcasing trauma-informed practices, resources and expertise in Tarrant County. We all play a role in supporting individual and community resilience. If we Recognize Trauma, foster empathy and build connections, we can truly Rise Together.

It is fitting that this campaign would originate with the Mental Health Connection, which was founded in response to a traumatic community occurrence. In September 1999, a man suffering from untreated mental illness went on a shooting rampage at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, killing seven people and then himself. Mayor Kenneth Barr turned to local mental health providers, requesting a plan for improving access to quality mental health services for all residents of Tarrant County. In response to this challenge, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Lena Pope, MHMR of Tarrant County, the City of Fort Worth, Fort Worth ISD, the Child Study Center and Tarrant County government provided leadership and summoned the support of other community partners to collaborate around the vision of “No wrong door for the right mental health services.”

Since 2000, the Mental Health Connection has grown to over 100 members across Tarrant County. That includes mental health providers, hospitals, schools, juvenile and criminal justice systems, nonprofits, practitioners and individuals impacted by mental health and substance use challenges.

Mental Health Connection has gained recognition throughout the state, as well as the nation, for its efforts. The formalized structure includes monthly membership meetings, solution focused committees, collaboration, and continuing education opportunities provided by symposium, learning communities, and organized pilot projects. Specific work around trauma includes:

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