A county-wide initiative funded through The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. Morris County was chosen to receive this three-year, $410,000 grant to build on a community collaborative to assess, plan and implement strategies to become a healthier community that supports resilience, mental health and well-being.
The goal of this initiative is to "address a lack of understanding of how communities support resilience and mental health, the significant inequities that exist in Texas, the community conditions that contribute to mental health disparities, and how people come together to create and implement community-driven solutions. We seek to gain an improved understanding of the environments where community members live, learn, work, play, and pray, resulting in improved resilience, mental health, and well-being.
MCC is focused on listening to all citizens to make their voice be heard. We are striving to bring citizens together to find common goals that will improve the lives of our residents.
Create resources and provide education that will improve the overall well-being in our communities.
Morris County Collaborative is a non-profit organization dedicated to making Morris County a better place to live, work, learn, play, and pray.
The Morris County Collaborative was born out of a small group of people who met in 2013 at the home of Margine Mims, a Daingerfield resident, to discuss ways to revitalize the Morris County communities. Mrs. Mims has been an advocate for community well-being over the past 50 years and passionate about youth development and education. Today, the Collaborative has 22 members that represent the people who live in Daingerfield, Omaha, Naples, Lone Star and Cason.
The Collaborative espouses health and wellness, mental health, health equity, economic development, personal empowerment and training and development. Education will address the concerns of all in the community we serve, especially the historically marginalized and excluded. The Collaborative will continue to advance the work begun and has developed partnerships with a cross-sector of industries that advocate for, support, and promote resilience in our community.
Morris County sits in a beautiful region of lakes and rolling hills and has many great assets. Notable is that Morris County has the 2nd highest high school graduation rate ranking 95th in the nation. Considered a “football town” you can find most of our folks at football games on Fridays supporting our youth and schools. Yet, our greatest asset are the people who live here. We love our community. That is why we move, live, work, learn, and pray here.
So, when we received the latest healthcare ranking from the Texas County Health Rankings ranking Morris County 242 out 244 counties in the state of Texas, this was alarming.
Morris County is located in Region 4 of Texas where many factors led to this ranking. To name a few, an average of 1 out of every 4 children under age 18 live in poverty. In addition, only one mental health provider is available for every 1000 individuals, and only 1 doctor for every 6000 people. Also, the suicide rate is five points higher than the state of Texas. We began this initiative to improve our conditions. -
These conditions did not always exist. Morris County was once a thriving community before the local economy took a downturn. To a large degree, the downturn was a result of job losses from Lone Star Steel, which at one time employed over 7000 people. Over a 30-year period, the people employed there dwindled to 700 and the local economy suffered. Businesses closed, our hospital closed, healthcare professionals left, and people left. Unemployment led to a lack of medical insurance and the inability to afford to visit a doctor. This environment and other choices, led to poor health and poverty. So, we have to change -- but change does not happen without work, risk, and sacrifice. Our goals are to increase our health rankings and overall well-being. Morris County Collaborative has begun the work of Building a Healthier Community. Together.
We need the support of our community - leaders, businesses, organizations, schools, residents and our Partners. According to our most recent survey which was conducted to get to the root causes of our present conditions, the top needs of our community were Jobs, Recreation, and Youth Facilities -- people want places to go, things to do. But, according to the Community Cafes we have been conducting after the Survey, we also need better and affordable housing, substance and opioid use prevention, treatment and recovery services, criminal justice equality, transportation, youth services and programs that advocate health and education like STEAM (Science, Technology,
Engineering, Arts, and Math), gym and exercise facilities, and access to medical treatment based on income.