When a person is diagnosed with a physical disease such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, their family and friends empathize and rally around their loved one. Even though illnesses of the brain are physical diseases too, people diagnosed with a mental illness are often viewed in a different light than those with other physical ailments. Why does society create this stigma around mental illness when in reality, mental illness is exactly like other physical diseases? Mostly, the answer lies in the misperceptions and unknown science about our brains.
How close are you to a person living with a mental illness? Did you know that one in five people have a diagnosed mental disorder? These can include anxiety, clinical depression, or borderline personality disorder. In the five surrounding counties of Lubbock (Lynn, Cochran, Crosby and Hockley) three percent of the population is living with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, substance use disorders and intellectual disabilities.
For more than 50 years, StarCare Specialty Health System has provided a diverse array of specialty healthcare services. These services support and empower people living with behavioral health diseases and intellectual disabilities. Today, StarCare serves 8,000 people in their service delivery area. At the front lines of Lubbock’s mental health crisis, StarCare delivers behavioral health education and mental illness anti-stigma campaigns along with psychiatric, intellectual disabilities and substance use disorder specialty healthcare services.
However, as a company, they know they alone cannot hold the line of our community’s mental health crisis. Together with many community partnerships reinforced through their Chamber membership, StarCare and their collaborators are serving our community, expanding existing services and creating new ones. For example:
- StarCare, Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock County, City of Lubbock, University Medical Center and The Community Foundation of West Texas have teamed up to address mental health efforts and the wellbeing of Lubbock citizens.
- StarCare and the Lubbock Police Department partner through LPD’s Mental Health Peace Officer Initiative and StarCare’s Crisis Intervention Teams to provide immediate care for individuals in mental crisis. As opposed to taking them to an emergency room or to jail, where they would have to wait for care.
- StarCare and the Lubbock County Sherriff’s Office partner through StarCare’s jail based competency restoration program. They offer mental health services inside the jail to help inmates receive mental health care and education about the legal system.
- StarCare, Covenant Health System, and Hockley County partner through StarCare’s satellite Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic in Levelland to bring mental health and substance use disorder services closer to home.
- StarCare, Region 17, Texas Tech University, and local ISDs partner to provide Mental Health First Aid training to school and university teachers along with faculty and staff to help identify students who may be in need of mental healthcare.
How has being a member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce helped to increase your business, relationships in the business community and/or community involvement?
Being a member of the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce afforded StarCare Specialty Health System the opportunity for increased presence in the business community. Through our involvement, we have been able to help people better understand who we are and what we do. The personal relationships formed with business leaders in our community has lead us to being able to put individuals in direct contact with our area of service suited for their needs, and to spread behavioral health education, reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
When/Why did StarCare join the Chamber?
StarCare joined the Chamber in 1995 because we saw the opportunity to not only make business connections throughout our community, but also increase our opportunity to be actively engaged as a community partner through the many programs the Chamber offers.
What is your favorite part of being a member of the Chamber?
“My personal favorite part of being a Chamber member is being involved with the Chamber Ambassadors. As an ambassador, we get the opportunity to go to every part of Lubbock and learn about new businesses as well as be a resource for business men and women at every function. Also, being a Chamber ambassador allows me to help build bridges and close some of the gaps of people not knowing what all is happening in Lubbock or with StarCare.” – AJ McCleod, StarCare Specialty Health System, Silver Star Community Relations Coordinator; Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and Leadership Lubbock Graduate 2018.
“My favorite part of being a Chamber member is the networking opportunities and the platform that the Chamber has to champion certain causes. Mental health is a big topic in the legislative session this year, it is a big topic at Texas Tech, and the Chamber has included it in its initiatives as well. Our partnership with the Chamber on this cause is of great value to StarCare.” – Jason Cannaday, StarCare Specialty Health System Chief Financial Officer; Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Top 20 Under 40 2018 Recipient.
In what ways is the StarCare involved with the Chamber? (i.e. Chamber related activities, functions, committees, etc.)
StarCare is a business member of the Chamber and has sponsored the Hub city BBQ, Business Expo, and many other events. In addition, StarCare has employees participating in the CEO Luncheon, the ambassadors program, Leadership Lubbock, Young Professionals of Lubbock, and as Top 20 Under 40 award recipients.
Does the StarCare have a favorite Chamber event? If so, what?
“My favorite is the CEO Luncheon.” – Jason Cannaday, StarCare Specialty Health System Chief Financial Officer; Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Top 20 Under 40 2018 Recipient
“Though I know StarCare enjoys and benefits from all Chamber events, I would say Leadership Lubbock is at the top of that list.” – Brandi Ivey, StarCare Specialty Health System Corporate Community Relations Coordinator, Leadership Lubbock Graduate
“It’s difficult to pick just one favorite but, as a good ol’ West Texas girl, I’d probably lose my Lubbock citizenship if I didn’t say – The Hub City BBQ Cook-off!” – Beth Lawson, StarCare Specialty Health System Chief Executive Officer.