Two years ago, mental health experts participating in what was called a Behavioral Health Summit in Santa Fe noted that up to 2,500 adults in Santa Fe County have serious mental illness issues.
It was also learned that at least 30,000 residents use illicit substances or misuse alcohol or prescription medication on a regular basis.
More troubling, residents burdened with such issues oftentimes have found themselves in county detention facilities rather than in specialty health clinics where they could get the help they need.
In response, those experts recommended the creation of a behavioral crisis center that would be especially designed to assist and treat residents with such issues.
A short six months later, voters in the November 2016 election gave the green light to a $2 million bond designed to provide capital funding for just such a facility.
Now, after months of discussions, Santa Fe County Community Services has announced it is partnering with the Albuquerque-based New Mexico Solutions, Inc. to create what will officially be called the Santa Fe County Behavioral Health Crisis Center.
New Mexico Solutions, which was founded in 1999 and provides a variety of counseling, living and educational services to people dealing with mental illnesses and addictions, will be tasked with both planning and operating the facility.
In discussing the need for such a facility last year, Rachael O’ Connor, Community Services Department Director, said the center will be geared to provide a “safe and secure place for Santa Fe County adults with behavioral health issues.”
Plans will now center on finding a location to build the new center as well as creating the facility’s design.
By Garry Boulard