As the population in McKinney grows, the need for behavioral health services is outpacing growth in services, said Dana Bickford, president of the Coalition for Behavioral Healthcare in Collin County.

Collin Springs opened its north McKinney facility in March, while Lifepath Systems, the behavioral health authority in Collin County, will debut a new facility in McKinney in 2025. However, Bickford said the need for resources that address behavioral health—such as depression, psychosis or substance abuse—is still greater, especially for adolescents.

“The resources are growing, but the trends are outrunning them,” he said.

The big picture

With one new facility now open and another under construction, McKinney residents will have additional options when seeking out behavioral health care.

Collin Springs’ new facility offers treatment for adolescents and adults ranging from age 5-105, and offers programs including inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and other outpatient programs, according to its website. The facility provides treatment for:
  • Behavioral health conditions including depression, anxiety and psychosis
  • Chemical dependencies and substance abuse
Lifepath Systems offers both inpatient and outpatient services through three divisions: behavioral health, early childhood intervention, and intellectual and developmental disabilities, its website states.

Lifepath Systems’ new facility will allow the organization to expand its inpatient and outpatient services as well as plan for future growth, CEO Tammy Mahan said. The organization’s current McKinney facilities include its headquarters and its crisis center—a residential facility with 22 beds.

The land for the new facility was acquired through a low-cost land lease in partnership with Collin County. Mahan said the site was advantageous due to the proximity to county administration offices and county jail, which allows the organization to provide services to those who are leaving the jail. The location also allows for people who have been arrested and have behavioral health needs to be diverted from the jail.

“It’s very frequent for individuals with mental illness to end up getting criminal trespassing charges,” she said. “It’s really not criminal behavior, it’s the mental health that’s causing that so it doesn’t make sense to arrest them [and] put them in jail when they really just need treatment.”

What they’re saying

Despite growing access to resources locally, Bickford said one of the biggest challenges in behavioral health is fighting the stigma.

Mahan said stigma, such as a fear of being judged, can cause people to delay pursuing treatment for behavioral health conditions.

“It’s really hard for parents to say, ‘Hey, I think my child is mentally ill,’” she said. “There is a lot of judgment on parents, from neighbors, coworkers, everybody.”

The problem is further exacerbated when people are unsure of what resources are available to address behavioral health needs, Bickford said.

“[It’s] a perfect storm; lack of information, stigma that prevents people from being open about finding what they need,” he said. “Even if you have information, you may not be able to get in to see somebody for six months.”

Quote of note

"There’s a lot of pressure and stigma ... to not admit that there’s an issue so people wait until things are really, really bad [to seek help],” Mahan said.

Diving deeper

About 271,500 Collin County residents have mental health issues, with nearly 55,000 of those individuals having a serious mental illness, according to data from a 2022 profile of Collin County’s behavioral health from the Coalition for Behavioral Healthcare in Collin County.

Lifepath Systems has seen year-over-year growth in people served for behavioral health care needs. Mahan said the organization treats repeat patients but is more frequently treating new patients. People seeking treatment are also requiring higher levels of care due to the rising intensity of behavioral health conditions, she said.

“Collin County is growing so fast [and] ... because so many people are moving here, there’s this constant new population,” Mahan said.

Lifepath Systems’ model eliminates financial barriers, as the organization provides care at reduced costs and for those without insurance.

“We’re not looking for people ... that are able to pay,” Mahan said. “We’re here to make sure people are getting the care they need in the least restrictive setting.”

Mahan said the organization also works to address behavioral health needs quickly using resources such as telehealth psychiatrists. Seeing a psychiatrist or behavioral health provider that quickly is often not possible through other health care systems, Mahan said.

“If somebody comes in today, we try to get them on an appointment with a doctor today so that they don’t end up in a hospital tomorrow,” Mahan said.
Looking ahead

Both of the new facilities will have room for expansion in the future.

Mahan said she expects the new Lifepath Systems facility will serve the needs of the community for the next five to eight years. The completed facility will include about 12,000 square feet of undeveloped space for future programming.

The Collin Springs facility is also designed to be expandable to allow for up to additional 24-beds, Lifepoint Health Director of Construction Corbin Clinage said.

Finding services

1. Lifepath Systems: The Crisis Hotline is a 24/7 hotline staffed by trained behavioral health professionals.
  • 877-422-5939
2. Here for Texas: The organization offers a free online database of mental health providers and resources.3. Collin Cares: This initiative of Texas Health Resources and the Assistance Center of Collin County offers a searchable directory of service providers in Collin County.