Key Points

· A highly publicized incident served as a catalyst for the Austin, Texas, community, convened by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, to address gaps in the behavioral health system.

· The foundation worked with the local behavioral health authority, the mayor’s office, police and sheriff’s departments, and the city health department to design the Austin Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force. The task force was succeeded by a monitoring committee that identified six focus areas in which to develop action plans and monitor community progress.

· This collaborative process aimed to strengthen public commitment to behavioral health services and create a cross-agency planning structure to make concrete improvements in the existing service delivery systems.

· Fourteen indicators were compiled into a Mentally Healthy Community Score Card, including indicators related to positive behavioral health, such as fitness, housing, and employment. Of the 14 scored indicators, 78 percent showed improvement between 2005 and 2006.

· System change outcomes included improved quality and access to data, greater public awareness of mental health issues, and the development of new programs, including funding for pilot programs.

Open Access