Bernalillo County working on new programs to treat mental illness | KOB 4

Bernalillo County working on new programs to treat mental illness

November 16, 2018 05:25 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- This week, Bernalillo County officials announced millions of dollars in grants and money from the county will go directly toward mental health services.


"Our community is experiencing a mental health crisis at this time and a lot of that has to do with the lack of services," said Bernalillo County Assistant Director of Behavioral Health Services Margarita Chavez-Sanchez. "There are significant gaps in that continuum so what we're trying to do is fill the gaps."

This week, Bernalillo County commissioners approved $3 million toward that effort and Chavez-Sanchez said they've received more than $2 million in grants.

"That will provide a continued stabilization for clients who are going to the ER for a crisis and then stabilize but are not quite ready to enter the community. So it gives an additional capacity for stabilization," said Chavez-Sanchez.

The county is also looking to create a program to reduce the number of people in jail with mental illness, and the Behavioral Health Initiative is creating a law enforcement assisted diversion program.

"So if someone commits a crime, be it, a low level charge or a property crime up to a certain amount, opposed to taking them jail we're going to give them options to plug into services and the DA will hold that charge and as long as they agree to pursue the services so they have a chance to connect to services as opposed to being taken to jail," she said.

The county is hoping to have the new programs in place by 2019. The ultimate goal is to build a stand-alone treatment facility. However, that's still years down the road.

Follow this link for more information about the programs



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