Bernalillo County's Behavioral Health Initiative nationally recognized | KOB 4
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Bernalillo County's Behavioral Health Initiative nationally recognized

Morgan Aguilar
July 11, 2018 06:27 AM

BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. - Some Bernalillo County leaders are headed to Nashville this week to receive an award on behalf of the county’s Behavioral Health Initiative.

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In November of 2014, 69-percent of voters agreed to pay higher taxes in order to increase behavioral health services in the county. This came after some high-profile cases made it clear that there were some major gaps in the health care system for anyone experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

"I think the catalyst for really getting folks attention was when James Boyd was killed,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley, who represents District 1.

Now, nearly four years later, the Behavioral Health Initiative is receiving national recognition. It won an achievement award from the National Association of Counties which recognizes innovative, effective county government programs across the country.

"It says that we're, you know, that actually we're in the forefront as a county nationwide in what we're doing," said Commissioner O’Malley.

Their application for the award points out what makes BHI unique, like the high citizen participation. More than 60 volunteers make up subcommittees that help create BHI’s programs. It also points to the unprecedented collaboration between the city and county in creating Mobile Crisis Teams, and the program that works to reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences.

“We focused a lot on children,” said Commissioner O’Malley. “That has a lot to do with the climate here. We have a lot of drug problems and it's impacted children in such a negative way.”

Commissioner O’Malley said she is honored to receive the award on behalf of the county and sees it as a reminder of all they’ve accomplished as well as the work left to do.  

"It really isn't enough,” said Commissioner O’Malley. “We're trying to do more. We need to do more."

Credits

Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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