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Health And Public Safety

Over $2 Million in Additional Behavioral Health Initiatives Approved

12/14/2016

The Board of Commissioners last night approved two additional behavioral health initiatives that will activate essential help for the community: mobile crisis teams and a supportive housing program.

The mobile crisis teams and scattered site supportive housing program were both approved and the county will now begin to solicit requests for proposals to implement the initiatives. The housing program will increase supportive housing throughout Bernalillo County specifically for persons with behavioral health conditions who are homeless.

The mobile crisis teams will respond to individuals experiencing a nonviolent behavioral health crisis that necessitates a 911-response. There will be three teams formed, one by Bernalillo County and two by the City of Albuquerque. Each team will consist of a crisis intervention unit deputy paired with a master’s degree level behavioral health clinician.

The Bernalillo County behavioral health tax will fund the mobile crisis teams in the amount of up to $1 million per year and will begin as a pilot program.

The mobile crisis teams will provide a range of services, including:

  • Clinician response to scene within 20 minutes of initial call
  • Ability to provide individuals an evaluation, initial assessment, and triage in their home as opposed to the emergency room
  • Referrals to appropriate behavioral health services and support systems
  •  Potential for periodic follow-up with client after initial crisis to determine if services have met the client’s needs
  •  Provide a positive engagement with law enforcement
  •  Provide education and awareness of services and resources currently available in Bernalillo County

The measure was unanimously approved by the commission.

The scattered site supportive housing program will consist of providing housing and case management services for persons with behavioral health conditions who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless. A minimum of 55 supportive housing units will be available throughout the county.

The Bernalillo County behavioral health tax will fund the housing program for an amount not to exceed $1.2 million annually. The measure was unanimously approved by the commission.

“These additional behavioral health initiatives will continue setting up the necessary infrastructure to support effectively engaging and stabilizing individuals with behavioral health issues in the community,” says Commission Chair Art De La Cruz. “These initiatives are where the rubber meets the road and where we can begin to have a real impact with the community.”

In September, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Government Commission and the BernCo County Commission approved support and $5 million in funding for several behavioral health proposals that included:

  • community engagement team that helps people and their families to voluntarily cope with the effects of mental illness and substance abuse disorders in the comfort and familiarity of their home
  • supportive housing for individuals with behavioral health needs coming out of the jail
  • implementing reduction of adverse childhood experiences project to develop a system that maintains a strong collaboration of professionals who work with children across the full continuum of services for at-risk children and families including primary prevention, identification, early intervention, support and treatment, harm reduction, outreach, and services in children’s homes and within communities.
  • hiring a behavioral health advisor who will provide guidance on the development and implementation of the behavioral health initiative
  • transitional living for the youth program to serve at-risk youth who are precariously housed or homeless with a mental health or addiction diagnosis
  • contracting with the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research to implement a performance management strategy which measures the effectiveness of implemented programs and constantly strives to improve the performance of programs. Data analysis and evaluation will occur to assess the impact of the entire Behavioral Health Initiative on the entire population of users of behavioral health services, including individual program evaluations of the effectiveness of each contracted and/or directly delivered program.
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