Tarleton State University students, faculty and Erath County community partners now have a new opportunity to address the needs of the county’s underserved population. The project, known as Texans Reducing Food Insecurities and Depression (TFID), will identify and offer resources to citizens age 55 and over who face food insecurity and depression. 

The $300,000 grant, awarded by Texas Health Resources’ Community Impact initiative, will help address the overall health and well-being of residents by supporting healthy food services and increasing access to mental health services. 

“These funds from Texas Health will allow us to truly enhance mental health services by addressing the whole person: mind, body and soul,” said Julie Merriman, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services at Tarleton State University. “In addition, we will create a sustainable resource database to bridge a gap in service utilization and accurately identify residents in need.”

Texas Health Community Impact is a data-driven, outcome-focused approach that calls on grant recipients to collaborate across sectors to attack identified issues. This year, the program is awarding a total of $5.2 million to 12 collaborations across five regions in North Texas. 

“This is our opportunity to play a role in upstream issues that impact health and well-being,” said Catherine Oliveros, DrPH, Texas Health’s vice president of Community Health Improvement. “Siloed efforts have limited success. If we are really going to transform health and health care, we must transform systems and communities.”

The initiative pinpoints specific ZIP codes with the best opportunities to effect change. In Erath County, the TFID project will focus on providing resources to individuals in 76401 and 76402. 

Leadership Councils found that mental health issues came up again and again during community focus groups and needs assessments.

“Through the fabric of collaboration, the Texans Reducing Food Insecurity and Depression program will strengthen the social and spiritual support network in Erath County and bring hope and healing to hurting people,” said Rev. Kory Koch, vice chair of the Southern Leadership Council and representative for Erath County. “In the process, I believe this program will transform our whole community by providing a conduit of relationship-building for the recipients of services, students, caregivers, and congregations across our whole community.”