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Health And Public Safety

The Behavioral Health Initiative: What Is It?

09/03/2015

The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative represents a significant step forward in local efforts toward addressing and preventing the mental health, substance abuse, addiction, and homelessness crisis in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County and the middle Rio Grande region of New Mexico. 

Recent studies suggest that nearly 50 percent of Bernalillo County residents needing mental health or addiction treatment services are not getting the help they need because of gaps in New Mexico’s behavioral health care.  Untreated behavioral health conditions have led to increased and sometimes tragic interactions with law enforcement, over incarceration, overuse of hospital emergency and inpatient services, and unnecessary suffering on the part of patients and their families.

In 2014, a task force that included elected representatives of Bernalillo County, the City of Albuquerque, State of New Mexico, consumers, providers, and other stakeholders worked to identify behavioral healthcare gaps, needs, and priorities in Bernalillo County. In October 2014, the task force made formal recommendations to the Bernalillo County Commission, which include the need for a regional crisis stabilization center, intensive case management, supportive housing, the creation of community engagement teams, and mobile crisis units. Click here to see the City/County Behavioral Health Task Force Recommendations. 

The Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative launched in response to the needs identified by this task force and the many others who have studied these needs over the past 20 years, and with the support of Bernalillo County voters who overwhelming expressed support for such action during the 2014 general election when asked:

“Are you in favor of the Bernalillo County Commission establishing a one-eighth percent gross receipts tax to be used for the purpose of providing more mental and behavioral health services for adults and children in the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County area, to provide a safety net system that develops continuum of care not otherwise funded in New Mexico?”

Click here to read much more about Bernalillo County's Behavioral Health Initiative

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