Metrocare Services is the largest provider of mental health, developmental disability and permanent supported housing services in Dallas County serving over 50,000 annually. On Wednesday, May 31st, at the Hilton Anatole, the 55 year old non profit held it’s 14th Meals for the Minds luncheon to bring awareness to the mental health services needed for both adults and children within Dallas county.

Laura Harris moderates discussion with Holy Robinson Peete and her son RJ

Every year, Metrocare invites a celebrity with a philanthropic background to be a keynote speaker. Past speakers included NFL quarterback Dak Prescott and actress Mara Wilson. This year’s keynote speaker was actress and mental health advocate, Holly Robinson Peete. Peete is well known for her transparency on raising her son RJ, who was diagnosed with autism as a child. She spoke to DW about this year’s event.

I am very excited to be here. I already spent a lot of time in Dallas because my brother lived here. Even before being invited, I had heard about Metrocare and the amazing work they are doing.

Holly Robinson Peete

Over 10,000 children and teens receive specialty mental health services from Metrocare and adults with disabilities can also benefit from Metrocare’s numerous programs including Early Childhood Intervention, Flourishing Families, Supported Employment and two specialty autism clinics in Dallas and DeSoto.

One thing that contributes to Metrocare’s success is their understanding to invest in the people that are servicing their clients. And they are doing just that with the development of Metrocare’s new Behavioral Health Innovation Center. This building will be right on their 10 acre site near 1-30 and Westmoreland. This location will be large enough to provide multiple services and hold multiple departments in one location, which will be a huge benefit to the people they serve.

DW spoke with Tameka Y. Cass who is the Chief Development & Diversity Officer for Metrocare Services. One of her primary responsibilities is fundraising and overseeing the management of it. Cass proudly stated Metrocare raised just over 50% of their goal, 13 of 25 million. The new building development is also exciting for Cass, who works closely with the directors of each department. Her close interaction allows her to identify needs on both sides.

We need to take care of the people that take care of the people.

Tameka Y. Cass, Chief Development & Diversity Officer for Metrocare Services

Additionally, Metrocare provides resources and training to their team through their Altshuler Center for Education and Research (ACER). At ACER, mental health professionals across the state of the Texas can receive training in behavioral analysis & intervention, training for counselors and nurses or training to conduct research itself. The “evidence-based” research at ACER is provided in partnership with dozens of academic organizations like UTSW Medical School, UTA and Dallas College. 

MetroCare Luncheon “Meal for the Minds” with Judge Clay Jenkins and Metrocare CEO John Burruss, M.D.

Metrocare Services proves year after year why they are the leading resource for mental health services for children, teens and adults. Their focus is on Dallas County, but they collaborate ideas with similar organizations across the nation and create goals based on these discussions.

According to UT Health East Texas, of the almost 19.8 million adults age 18 years and older in Texas, close to 1 million adults, or 5% of the total Texas adult population has serious mental illness. And 6.4 million Texans could benefit from mental health treatment. That’s quite a number to tackle, especially considering in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA, 8.2 percent age 12 or older were classified as having a substance use disorder.

Report from 2014 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Last year in 2022, Metrocare serviced 13,000 children in Dallas county. Joel Triska, Director of Public Affairs and Communication, said Metrocare continues to place a heavy focus on providing top-tier mental health and developmental services for children.

We want people to understand that we are here to help. You can simply walk through our doors and receive many of our services within the same day, which is almost unheard of. Also, many of the people we service don’t have medical insurance, so we are filling in the gap for those who are truly in need.

For over 50 years, Metrocare leads the way as the largest provider of mental health services. They have received support and accolades from both the service providers and those they service. Constantly growing, seeking innovative ways to provide treatment, investing in their organization and most importantly, laying out the blueprint for other service providers to help those in need.

Jess Washington is the CEO and Director of Finance for the Dallas Weekly. Her job is to oversee company operations, develop strategic relationships both in the community and for marketing service partnerships.