Virginia Hoft to lead Mental Health Connection

The Board of Directors of the Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County has selected Virginia Hoft to lead the innovative mental and behavioral health collaboration formed in the aftermath of the Wedgewood shooting almost 20 years ago.

Comprised of more than 50 community agencies, the collaboration works together to create a community that is both trauma-informed and resilient, the organization said in a news release.

Hoft’s appointment comes upon the retirement of Patsy Thomas who has led the organization for 17 years. Thomas has announced a retirement date of Sept. 30.

“Virginia is an experienced and dynamic leader in our community who has served on the Mental Health Connection Board of Directors and successfully led numerous initiatives on behalf of the Mental Health Connection,” said Bennie Medlin, chair of the Mental Health Connection Board of Directors and Director of Juvenile Services in Tarrant County.

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“She will continue the work begun by Thomas and will be a catalyst for new initiatives that will enhance mental and behavioral health services in our community,” Medlin said.

Hoft most recently was vice president and national director of Substance Use Services for Youth Advocate Programs Inc. Prior to taking this position in 2015, she served as the founding executive director of Santa Fe Youth Services, a nonprofit agency providing substance use treatment, prevention and counseling services to youth and families in Tarrant County since 1996.

“Mental health and substance use disorders are conditions that impact families like yours and mine, and I am excited to work with agencies, families and community leaders to continue the important work of Mental Health Connection in bringing awareness and access to behavioral and mental health services in our community,” Hoft said in the news release.

Under Thomas’ leadership, Mental Health Connection has improved access to care for behavioral and mental health services; led a community-wide approach to resiliency, cultural competency and trauma-informed care; created; and focused on work force development, the news release said.

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“I want to thank Patsy for her years of service during which she has built and grown Mental Health Connection,” Medlin said. “She coordinated more than 50 community agencies touching mental and behavioral health and leaves our collaboration well-positioned to achieve new levels of success.”