Q&A with Asha Minix, Precinct 2's Assistant Director of Health Services
1. Describe your role and how it impacts Precinct 2 residents.
I serve as the Assistant Director of Healthcare and Social Services for Precinct 2. I oversee the day-to-day operations of the department and implement programs and initiatives aimed at improving the health outcomes of our constituents. While Precinct 2 is a wonderful place to live, work, play, and pray, many of our constituents face serious health challenges and barriers to quality healthcare. Our department seeks to positively impact the social determinants of health of our residents. Social determinants of health are just a fancy way of referring to all the non-medical things that impact a person’s health. This includes things like education, transportation, housing, and food access – to name a few.
2. What do you like most about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is getting to serve my community! Precinct 2 is very special to me because I am a long-time resident of East Harris County and a proud graduate of Channelview High School. One of my other favorite things about working in Health Services is working with a variety of departments across our precinct and the entire county. Because we are a small department, it’s important for us to leverage strategic partnerships to achieve our goals.
Part of the Precinct 2 Health Services team. From left to right: Connie Assiff, Chara Bowie, Asha Minix, Yolanda Ibarra
3. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, what programs or resources does Precinct 2 have that address this important issue and mental health, in general?
Mental health and well-being are major priorities for Precinct 2 Health Services. We have different programs and services that address mental health. First is the Access2Health Mental Health Smart Pod located in the parking lot of the Deputy Darren Almendarez Community Center at James Driver Park. This Access2Health Mental Health Smart Pod is a collaborative effort between Precinct 2, Catholic Charities, and The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD. Catholic Charities provides mental health services for youth and adolescents, while the Harris Center provides these services for adults. We also partner with The Harris Center on two other mental health programs: Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities, and the Substance Use Disorder Outreach Program (SUDOP). Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities is an outreach program that focuses on building resiliency among residents of the areas in Harris County most heavily impacted by COVID-19. They provide community trainings, community listening circles on different topics, and mental health resources. The SUDOP program connects folks with substance use disorders to comprehensive treatment. The Harris Center is such a great resource for our community. We are very fortunate that there are so many resources within Harris County.
4. How do you take care of your mental health?
I make self-care a priority. Self-care doesn’t have to be the expensive manicures and massages that we typically think of; it can be something as simple as taking a walk outside or taking a much-needed nap. I have also made practicing gratitude a daily habit. Before getting out of bed in the morning, I try to think of at least three things that I’m grateful for. There are numerous studies that show the positive effects of gratitude on mental well-being. When the weather permits, I spend time outside with my dog. I also spend quality time with family and friends. I prioritize having a healthy sleep schedule as well. It’s tough at times, but quality sleep really boosts your mental health. I also make time to see my therapist regularly.