In 2003, the President’s New Freedom Commission issued its final report, “Achieving the Promise,” which called for fundamentally transforming the nation’s mental health system to a consumer, family, and youth-driven “Recovery Model”, a system in which recovery is the expected outcome for everyone with a mental health challenge.
In response, SAMHSA awarded five-year Mental Health Transformation Grants to several states, including Texas, for the purpose of beginning to develop the infrastructure needed to support a transformed, recovery-oriented mental health system. Via Hope was created as a key component of this new infrastructure. We provide education, training, and consultation for people in recovery, their family members, youth, and mental health professionals to help make Texas’ mental health system become more focused on recovery and resilience.
Via Hope started in February 2009 as a program housed within an existing nonprofit organization. In 2013 it moved to the Center for Social Work Research at The University of Texas at Austin. In 2014, a new nonprofit organization, Mental Health Resource of Texas, was created specifically to be the permanent home for Via Hope. This nonprofit has operated publicly as Via Hope since September 2014.
How was the name Via Hope created?
The word Via means “traveling through (a place) en route to a destination”. "Hope" is an important concept in recovery. Together, the words "Via Hope" symbolize the journey individuals take to recovery. The tree in the logo symbolizes, among other things, the continual cycle of renewal and rebirth.
Via Hope’s Evolution
Via Hope provides education and training for individuals in recovery and works with provider organizations to help them make their culture and practices more recovery oriented. To accomplish this, we have developed several education and training programs over the years, and we also sponsor compatible trainings developed by other organizations.
Via Hope’s first major initiative was to develop a training and certification program for peer specialists in 2010. In conjunction with this, we developed a Peer Specialist Learning Community (PSLC) to assist local mental health centers in implementing peer support services and to develop the kind of recovery-oriented organizational culture required for successful peer support. Based on what we learned, we launched the Recovery-Focused Learning Community in 2011 and broadened our focus to significantly emphasize culture and practices that promote recovery. Also during 2011, Via Hope developed and implemented a Family Partner Training and Certification program, with help from stakeholders around the state.
In 2012, we launched the Recovery Institute, a set of programs designed to promote mental health transformation. Recovery Institute programs such as the Leadership Academy, Peer Specialist Integration Project, and Person Centered Recovery Planning help behavioral health organizations become more recovery-oriented, strengths-based, person-centered and focused on resilience. Via Hope continues to emphasize peer support services as a key element in recovery-oriented organizations and to promote the voice and influence of all individuals with lived experience of mental health recovery within the Texas Behavioral Health System.