AMARILLO, Texas — Effective Jan. 1, Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation is changing its name to Texas Panhandle Centers — Behavioral and Developmental Health.
This change was made to better reflect the agency’s focus of service, and reflects its goal of erasing the stigma attached to intellectual disabilities, officials said.
The name change comes after many years of advocacy efforts and unanimous approval by the U.S. Congress of Rosa’s Law (S.2781), which was put into effect on Oct. 5, 2010. Inspired by Rosa Marcellino, a child with Down syndrome, Rosa’s Law directs the elimination of the term “mental retardation” (which in recent years has developed a negative connotation and is seen by many as stigmatizing) and replaces it with the term “intellectual disabilities” in federal health, education and labor statutes.
With this name change, Texas Panhandle Centers becomes one of a number of agencies that serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities that are removing the "R word" from their names.
The re-branding also reflects the continuing development of new services and prevention activities in the Texas Panhandle service area. It also signifies the commitment of Texas Panhandle Centers to assuring access to quality services and support for area residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse issues, and chronic long term psychiatric conditions, according to officials. Services provided to area residents will not be affected by the name change.
Texas Panhandle Centers began as two separate organizations in the mid 1960s, merging into one community center in 2000. Texas Panhandle Centers provides services in the upper 21 counties of the Texas Panhandle to adults and children diagnosed with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities or developmental delays.
Moreover, the agency is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization governed by a board of trustees whose membership is reflective of the entire service area. Regional mental health clinics, workshops for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, afterschool and summer programs, and other programs addressing specific needs are located in Amarillo, Dumas, Borger, Hereford, Pampa, Perryton and Clarendon.