Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute Is Named the Recipient of the $10M Lone Star Prize

The institute received the prize for its "Lone Star Depression Challenge," an effort to increase mental health awareness and decrease skyrocketing depression rates in Texas.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies and Lever for Change have selected the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and its “Lone Star Depression Challenge” as the recipient of the $10 million Lone Star Prize, a Texas-based competition launched in early 2020 to improve the lives of Texans and their communities.

According to the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, fewer than one in 15 of the 1.5 million Texans suffering from depression each year receive sufficient care to recover. Tragically, nearly 4,000 people in the state die each year from suicide. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this problem, nearly doubling the amount of people seriously considering suicide. As the prize winner, The Meadows Institute will focus on improving Texans’ quality of life by making mental health care more accessible  throughout the staten, with its “Lone Star Depression Challenge” proposal.

Led by the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute along with the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern, Harvard Medical School’s Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and The Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use, The Lone Star Depression Challenge aims to free every Texan from depression. Together the team plans to reduce barriers for all Texans with depression, detect their needs earlier, care for them more intensely, and improve the quality of life especially for people of color, people with disabilities, and people living in poverty.

“The Lone Star Prize will make possible the first-of-its kind, wide-scale expansion of three proven initiatives to improve the lives of Texans living with depression,” said Andy Keller, president/CEO of Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. “Our partnership with the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern will catalyze an unprecedented statewide and national effort to put depression care in Texas on par with care for heart disease and cancer, freeing millions more Texans from the cloud of depression and saving hundreds of lives over the next five years.”

About the Lone Star Prize 

Launched in early 2020, the Lone Star Prize is a statewide competition that aims to improve the lives of Texans by finding and funding solutions focused on creating healthier, stronger communities.

The prize, sponsored by Lyda Hill Philanthropies, is designed to “source a pipeline of philanthropic ‘big bets.’” The goal is to find a scalable, transformative effort that can transform Texas in one or more of three key categories: improving health outcomes, protecting the environment, and boosting the workforce.

Around 200 peer applicants, philanthropic and civic leaders, and subject matter experts reviewed more than 172 submitted proposals during a three-month evaluation process. Finalists were chosen based on whether they were transformative, scalable, feasible, and evidence-based, according to a statement.

Of the five finalists, two were North Texas-based, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute and Merit America. Meet each finalist and their proposed projects below, courtesy of Lyda Hill Philanthropies.

JUST Community: JUST will invest in 20,000 female entrepreneurs to build wealthier, more financially resilient communities across Texas by increasing their ownership opportunities.

Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute: The Lone Star Depression Challenge will improve quality of life and mental health access in communities across Texas using evidence-based approaches. Key partners include UT Southwestern Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine of Harvard Medical School, Dell Medical School Department of Psychiatry, and Path Forward for Mental Health and Substance Use. 

Merit America: The Lone STARS project will build new pathways to upwardly mobile careers for talented, low-wage Texans without bachelor’s degrees, focusing on underrepresented minorities. Key partners include Jobs for the Future, Opportunity @ Work and College Promise.

Texas Water Trade: Texas Water Trade’s project Clean Water for All Texans proposes a nonprofit water service provider that would deliver clean water to households most in need by deploying affordable onsite water treatment systems through a trained workforce. Key Partners include the University of Texas at El Paso, Columbia University, and Antelope Water Management.

William Marsh Rice University, Baker Institute for Public Policy: William Marsh Rice University, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy – Center for Energy Studies will transform the environment through implementation of a soil carbon storage market, while growing new economic opportunities for rural communities.

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