The Decision Support Unit allows agency executives, staff, and stakeholders to make data-driven decisions, while also informing policy and practice in mental health and substance abuse through data. Functions include the following:
- PROGRAM EVALUATION — evaluating mental health and substance abuse service programs, including developing data reports that monitor compliance with programmatic and contractual requirements.
- LEGISLATIVE REPORTING — reporting Legislative Budget Board (LBB) mental health and substance abuse performance measures and conducting data analyses for the Legislature, Legislative Appropriation Requests (LARs), and Exceptional Items.
- BLOCK GRANT DATA REQUIREMENTS — meeting data requirements for federal block grants, including needs assessment through standard formulas and/or population-based surveys.
- IMPACT AND TREND ANALYSIS — using data to determine the impact of proposed federal and state laws, and identifying statewide trends.
- SPECIAL REQUESTS — responding to data, report, and presentation requests by agency executives, legislators, media, and the public at large.
- DATA SHARING — collaborating with other agency divisions, and state and federal partners with data to ensure a holistic approach to health.
- DATA SYSTEM TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE — providing training and technical assistance on the DSHS Behavioral Health Integrated Provider System (BHIPS) and Clinical Management for Behavioral Health Services (CMBHS) system to funded providers to assure data-entry accuracy and efficiency.
- DSHS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH DATA BOOK AND NORTHSTAR DATA BOOK— trending quarterly statewide performance for mental health and substance abuse services for effective policy and practice decision-making.
Statewide Data and Reports
Behavioral Health Databook
Texas School Survey of Drug and Alcohol Use
The Texas School Survey of Drug and Alcohol Use is conducted biennially by the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division (MHSA), which replaced legacy agency Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (TCADA) in 2004. Since the project began in 1988, over 60 percent of all school districts in Texas have participated at least once and over 2 million students have completed surveys. The survey instrument includes prevalence of substance use in addition to demographic, well-being, and attitudinal measures.
The Texas College Survey of Substance Use
The Texas College Survey of SubstanceUse is a biennial collection of self-reported data related to alcohol and drug use, mental health status, risk behaviors, and perceived attitudes and beliefs among college students in Texas. This survey was previously conducted in 1997, 2005, 2013, and 2015. As funding permits, DSHS plans to conduct the Texas Survey of Substance Use among College Students on a biennial basis. *Reports forthcoming.*
Substance Abuse Trends in Texas