Mental Health Programs Staff
Laurie Morgan Silver, LCSW
is the Director of Mental Health Programs at Jewish Family Service, guiding the creation and implementation of the department’s suicide prevention, treatment and aftercare programs. These comprehensive and evidence-based programs received a Best Practices Pillar of Excellence award in 2019 from the National Jewish Human Services Agency. Laurie is a psychotherapist with expertise in treating those with suicidal ideation as well as comprehensive clinical aftercare. She presents on topics including self-care as a protective factor in mental health, adolescent depression and anxiety, substance abuse signs and symptoms, post-partum depression and care, communication skills for parents and partners, supporting children and adolescents in bereavement and anxiety management. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Houston, holding a master’s degree in clinical social work. Laurie is a native Texan, a mother and grandmother, an avid reader, and a yoga practitioner.
Gittel Francis, LMSW
is originally from Brooklyn, NY. Before moving to Houston, she lived in New Haven, Connecticut for seven years and moved to Houston in 2016 with her husband and family. Gittel attended Brooklyn College for her undergraduate degree in psychology. She graduated sum cum laude and was honored with induction in the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Gittel received her Master’s in Social Work from New York University and shortly thereafter became licensed social worker in the state of New York. Gittel initially joined the Jewish Family Service as a disaster case manager to help with individuals whom were affected by Hurricane Harvey. In addition, Gittel managed the yearlong initiative of the Israel Trauma Coalition in Houston post Harvey. After her success with managing the Israel Trauma Coalition initiative, Gittel was transferred to the newly developed Mental Health Programs Department to manage the Mental Health First Aid initiative. In her free time Gittel enjoys spending quality time with her family, hiking, biking, and reading.
Katelyn Bleiweiss, MPH
is a 4th generation native Houstonian, who is proud to be serving her community. She attended HSPVA and then went on to do Young Judea Year Course in Israel. Upon her return, she attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Anthropology. After a few years in Austin, she returned to Houston to attend the University of Texas Health Science Center- School of Public Health, and graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Master’s in Public Health with a focus in program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Katelyn completed an intensive internship at JFS in the summer of 2016 between her two years of graduate school where she worked under the Director of Operations. After Hurricane Harvey, Katelyn was hired to help in the disaster recovery department, where she worked for one year. As Hurricane Harvey needs were dwindling, and the need for suicide prevention was increasing, Katelyn was recruited into the new mental health programs department to serve as a program coordinator. Talk to her about Sources of Strength, Touching the Heart, or any of our important new programs. In her free time, she likes to hike, play music, and create crafts.