Gov. Abbott wants to implement West Texas mental health program state-wide

Gov. Abbott wants to implement West Texas mental health program state-wide

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - At a news conference Friday afternoon in Santa Fe, Governor Abbott recognized a program developed by the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.

It's called the Telemedicine, Wellness, Intervention, Triage, and Referral program. Currently, Abernathy ISD, Crosbyton ISD, Frenship ISP, Idalou ISD, Levelland ISD, Lubbock-Cooper ISD, Plainview ISD, Ralls ISD, Roosevelt ISD and Tahoka ISD all use the program.

From the TWITR Project Data Brief:

"The program objectives are to promote school safety, provide assessment and referral services to students who may be struggling due to behavior health issues, and provide further training and support to teachers, school counselors and administrative staff."

Dr. Billy Philips, executive director for TTUHSC's Rural and Community Health and developer of TWITR, talked to KCBD NewsChannel 11 today about the program. He said the tragedy in Santa Fe hits especially close to home for him.

"You see an incident like this and it's heartbreaking. As I mentioned to you, for me especially, we lived a mile from this school for ten years," Philips said. "I know many of the families, we checked on our kids, glad to say they're all safe... nobody's sound after something like this. They have to be helped."

Governor Abbott spoke about having a roundtable discussion about preventative measures to these school shootings, one of those being the TWITR program state-wide. Philips said he believes he will be invited to take part in these discussions.

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