Focus on Mental Health

Photographer Wyatt McSpadden documents champions of mental health in Texas.

Jim Lemon is the peer support coordinator for the East Texas Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.

As part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, we wanted to honor our grantees — the people who help us make recovery and wellness a reality in Texas. We also wanted to highlight the diversity of the work we support, and the diversity of Texas environments in which it’s done. So we enlisted photographer Wyatt McSpadden to hit the road to take environmental portraits of grantees who are doing work in each of the foundation’s four strategic areas. Below are some of the photos McSpadden took.

Focus on: Promoting Dialogue and Learning

Willie Williams, a retired administrator with the City of Austin Health and Human Service Department, is a co-founder of the Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Network (4ABHN), a Hogg-sponsored group which meets regularly to network, discuss current topics, and hear presentations by mental health experts.

Location: Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, Texas

Focus on: Consumers, Youth, and Families

Certified peer specialists Chriss Musick and Suzanne Hardin were part of the foundation’s East Texas Coalition for Mental Health Recovery. The program is designed to build leadership in mental health, recovery and wellness, and to increase consumer and family involvement in the Texas mental health system.

(Chriss Musick passed away earlier this year. She will be profoundly missed. In lieu of flowers, her family requested donations to be made to the Cherokee County Peer Support Group, the organization that she and Hardin co-founded).

Location: Cherokee County Peer Support Group, Jacksonville, TX

Focus on: Transforming the Workforce

The El Paso Psychology Internship Consortium ( EPPIC) is an El Paso-based partnership with UTEP and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. The internship program, funded jointly by the Hogg Foundation and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, allows doctoral psychology students to perform one year of supervised training, a requirement to complete their degrees. Jennifer Ambriz is interning at the UTEP Counseling Center under the supervision of Dr. Edna Reyes-Wilson.

Location: The University of Texas at El Paso

Focus on: Enhancing Public Policy

The foundation launched the Mental Health Policy Academy and Fellowship initiative to increase the capacity of individuals and nonprofit organizations in Texas to engage effectively in mental health policy. Texas nonprofit advocacy organiza — tions receive a foundation grant to hire and train a mental health policy fellow for up to two years. Jacques Ntonme and Clayton Travis were fellows in 2013–14. Both are now working as full-time staff for Texas advocacy organizations.

Location: Texas Capitol, Austin, Texas

About the photographer: Wyatt McSpadden is a native Texan with a wealth of experience photographing the down and out, the high and mighty, and everyone in between, often as not for Texas Monthly magazine, which has been featuring his work in its pages since 1978. In 2009 the University of Texas Press published Texas BBQ, the fruit of the two decades McSpadden has spent crisscrossing the state photograph — ing family-owned barbecue establishments.