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    $1.4 Million for CONNECT Program

    11/16/2018
    2:35 PM

    Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative Receives $1.4 Million for CONNECT Program

    Partnership with UNM-Health Sciences Center provides critical interventions for youth at risk for psychosis in Bernalillo County

    Bernalillo County, NM- This week officials with Bernalillo County received notice from the U.S. Department of Health’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that the county has been awarded a $1.6 million grant to fund Community Programs for Outreach and Intervention with Youth and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis over a four-year period. The new program, called CONNECT (Collaborative Interdisciplinary Evaluation and Community Based Treatment), is part of the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) and will be located at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC), with BHI acting as the fiscal agent for the project. It’s an example of one of the many ways the BHI has leveraged dollars to expand services utilizing funding that is not coming from Behavioral Health tax dollars.

    Bernalillo County submitted an application for the grant, through a competitive process, and was one of only a couple of dozen entities selected to receive the funding. CONNECT will serve youth 12 to 25 years old who are experiencing worrisome changes in their thoughts, experiences or feelings, which may indicate an increased risk of developing a serious mental health disorder such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Participants will be identified based upon a comprehensive assessment and will be offered up to two years of treatment, which will include an individually tailored combination of mental health education, access to medication, group or family psychotherapy, case management services and educational and vocational assistance. The team of service providers working with youth participants will include peer specialists with first-hand experience facing mental health issues and navigating recovery. CONNECT will incorporate other UNM HSC and Bernalillo County community-based programs to provide a comprehensive matrix of services.

    “Identifying serious mental health issues and providing access to services while individuals experiencing these challenges are still young can be key to mitigating more significant, long term negative impacts,” said Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, director of BHI for Bernalillo County. “In working with the experts at UNM Health Sciences Center, we are extremely pleased to be the beneficiaries of such a significant grant award, which will allow us to improve the quality of life for thousands of young people coping with mental illness in our community.”

    Dr. Roshel Lenroot, the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research at UNM HSC echoed those sentiments, acknowledging the value of the award and partnership. “Bernalillo County’s CONNECT program will allow us to reach a great number of young people in our community who are at high risk for or who are already experiencing psychosis and provide them the tools they require to navigate the challenges of serious mental illness. As with other BHI initiatives, CONNECT and the significant resources associated with the program, provides a highly effective mechanism for delivering quality, coordinated care to those in need in Bernalillo County.”

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