NAMI Central Texas to Host Speak Up! A Conversation About Mental Health

CONTACT: Beth Phillips
Bloom Communications
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 NAMI Central Texas to Host Speak Up! A Conversation About Mental Health

The benefit will explore the history of mental health care in Texas and the future of public health

AUSTIN, TX (May 2, 2022) — Austin-area residents are invited to join NAMI Central Texas for Speak Up!, a moderated mental health conversation with professor and activist Dr. King Davis, from 6 to 9 p.m. May 19 at the Bullock Texas State Texas Museum. The event will explore the history of mental health care in Texas, its evolution over the years, and inspirational plans of action that will impact the future of public health. After the event, attendees may explore the Mind Matters exhibition.

“Americans are facing multiple mental health crises, and unfortunately, Texas consistently ranks as one of the worst states in the U.S. for access to mental health care,” said NAMI Central Texas Executive Director Kate Hix. “We are so honored to have Dr. King Davis join us in our effort to change the mental health conversation by spreading the message that mental health is health.”

Dr. Davis was appointed professor of research in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014 and is currently working on the Austin State Hospital Archives Project. The purpose of this project is to assist Austin State Hospital in the long-term identification, preservation, research, and utilization of the historical archives maintained from its opening in 1857. Dr. Davis is noted for leading the decade-long effort to digitize the archive of patient records of Central State Hospital in Virginia, historically known as the Central Lunatic Asylum for Colored Insane. This effort won him recognition by the American Psychiatric Association, which awarded Dr. Davis the Benjamin Rush Award in 2019, given for outstanding contributions to the history of psychiatry.

“For well over a century, Texas families of every persuasion recognized the need to access effective mental health services,” Dr. Davis said. “Omnibus state hospitals and centers were designed to provide accessible services to enable individuals to recover, regain, and reorder their lives. But all over America what we hear, see, and read daily is that the nation’s mental health system is broken and in need of new ideas, resources, and discoveries. The dilemma before us is to identify where we go from here and the path we must take.”

Prior to his work at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Davis was the inaugural director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis and holder of the Mike Hogg Endowed Chair in urban affairs at the University of Texas at Austin from 2011 to 2014. Prior to this role, he served as executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health from 2003 to 2008. He held the Robert Lee Sutherland Endowed Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Social Work from 2000 to 2008. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001. Dr. Davis was a professor of Public Mental Health Policy and Planning at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, from 1984 to 2000. From 1998 to 1999, he was the holder of the William and Camille Cosby Chair at Howard University in Washington D.C.

Speak Up! A Mental Health Conversation with Dr. King Davis is sponsored by Mary & Howard Yancy and United Heritage Credit Union. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $30 for museum members. Admission costs for this program support the educational missions of both NAMI Central Texas and the Bullock Texas State History Museum. For more information, visit

About NAMI Central Texas

NAMI Central Texas is the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the country’s largest organization dedicated to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Through its free mental health education, support, and advocacy programs, NAMI Central Texas impacts the lives of more than 21,000 people in the Austin Metro and surrounding counties. For more information, visit