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Bernalillo County

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$100,000 of Bernalillo County’s Behavioral Health Initiative Funding to Benefit Young Asylum Seekers and Their Families

05/10/2019
1:37 PM
Breanna Anderson, (505) 228-5556, abizbybre@gmail.com

Bernalillo County - As a state that neighbors Mexico, New Mexico, is naturally a location chosen by asylum seekers. In light of the recent border issues, Bernalillo County has created a program to assist young asylum seekers and their families in the aftermath of their traumatic situations.

This May, Bernalillo County will approve an amendment to expand the County’s contract with PB&J Family Services as part of the ACEs program, which is focused on reducing Adverse Childhood Experiences. The amendment expansion is for $100,000, funded by the Behavioral Health gross receipt tax.

“It’s wonderfully inspirational to see our community come together to support non-profits and volunteers, all in an effort to help asylum seekers adjust to and find their new homes,” said Katrina Hotrum Lopez, Director of the Department of Behavioral Health Services. “We know these efforts will go along way, but we felt that consistent, professional support was another critical component that wasn’t being provided. With this program families will be able to receive an additional level of support as they acclimate and try to process the trauma they’ve experienced in order to get to a safe place to call ‘home’.”

“I’m proud to live in and represent an immigrant-friendly community,” said Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada. “It only makes sense that we would not only have physical supportive services in place for asylum seekers, but also have behavioral health services available. The hope is that our partnership with PB&J will help our newest arrivals process the chaos they’ve endured, while also trying to prevent negative behavioral health outcomes in the future.”

Supportive services will include bilingual, culturally competent crisis intervention, parenting classes, family bonding activities, help processing trauma, short-term case management, and transportation.

In total, the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative, administered by the Department of Behavioral Health Services, has created and funded 19 programs that make-up the behavioral health continuum. Nearly 98% of the annual behavioral health dollars have been appropriated to these programs.

Together, Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque are strategically leveraging resources and making decisions with community member and stakeholder inputs through the Behavioral Health Initiative. This endeavor creates a model for improving behavioral health outcomes that could be replicated across the country. For more information about BHI click here.

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