Hiking Trails

Williamson County’s Largest Mental Health Resource Partner Prepares for Expansion


WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Mental health support resources have become increasingly needed as many people have faced stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations report seeing many new faces walk through their doors.

Just north of Austin, the Williamson County Mental Health Authority is looking to expand to meet this need, but it faces some challenges.

“We probably have more vacancies now than before,” said Mike Maples, director of crisis services for Bluebonnet Trails. “.

Inside the Williamson County Emergency Call Center, things are about to change.

“You’re going to hear the operator say ‘fire, EMS, law enforcement or sanity,'” Maples said.

As Crisis Director for Bluebonnet Trails, Mike Maples is excited about what’s to come. The organization recently began working with the county to provide mental health support workers inside the 911 dispatch center.

Soon they will create a center where officers can take someone with a mental health crisis rather than jail them.

“And we can get the law enforcement officer back to the streets as quickly as possible,” Maples said.

With this expansion of services comes a much greater need for manpower, but there are challenges in hiring. These positions are currently in high demand.

“There is competition… There are other entities and healthcare professions that are also looking to recruit,” Maples said.

Bluebonnet is looking to hire an additional 20-30 employees as part of its expansion efforts. Today, with many jobs, employees have selective opportunities.

“There are more jobs here,” said Omar Seivright.

Omar Seivright is moving from Florida to the Austin area because of the opportunities. He attended the Bluebonnet hiring event on Saturday after hearing the ad over the radio while visiting Austin.

He recognizes that mental health supports are difficult, but he was drawn to the industry for a reason. “Helping people, you never know what little thing you can say that will change someone’s life or make them feel better about that day,” Seivright said.

The 911 crisis center is expected to launch in late January and staffed around the clock. Bluebonnet is also preparing to open its children’s respite center around this time as well.

For more information on how to apply for a Bluebonnet Trails position, click here.