BBSNews 2015-01-14 — ALBUQUERQUE – Today Mayor Richard Berry joined the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and its Mental Health Systems Task Force as part of a delegation from New Mexico on a stakeholder benchmarking trip to Pima County, Tucson, Arizona January 14-15, 2015.
Pima County has been cited by various sources as having developed an outstanding set of programs and resources in a well-functioning behavioral health system. The centerpiece of Pima County’s services, and the focus of this visit, is a new crisis response center. The Community Partnership of Southern Arizona’s Crisis Response Center is the only facility of its kind in the country and offers recovery-focused services for adults and children experiencing a behavioral health crisis including assessments and triage, peer support, stabilization and brief stays for acute care. The Center also houses a call center to facilitate prompt and safe transfers from law enforcement and first responders.
The New Mexico delegation includes, among others, Mayor Richard Berry, Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, Judge Nan Nash, Chamber President & CEO Terri Cole and Chamber Chairman Del Archuleta, Chamber board member Sherman McCorkle, Rodney McNease, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Finance at UNM Hospitals, Jane Keeports, Administrator of the Behavioral Health Service Line at Presbyterian Healthcare Services, and Dr. Wayne Lindstrom, Director of the Behavioral Health Services Division & CEO of the Behavioral Health Collaborative at the New Mexico Human Services Department. The delegation will learn more about the Pima County facility and model and how best practices originating from this model may be used to benefit New Mexico.
“The state of New Mexico’s behavioral healthcare system has a tremendous impact on the health, well-being, economy, and safety of our community,” said Dr. Paul Hopkins, behavioral health expert and Vice Chair of the Chamber’s Mental Health Systems Task Force. “It is imperative that key groups—especially service providers, government and business leaders, and law enforcement—come together to identify gaps in services and advance comprehensive solutions.”
“This visit is an opportunity to continue to build upon the great work we have already done and develop a new level of dialogue and collaboration when approaching this vital issue,” said Mayor Richard Berry. “I have a lot of optimism that the momentum we build today will help us improve the quality of life those who suffer from mental illness.”
The Task Force was formed with the following mission: to meet with stakeholders and other interested groups to discuss ideas and develop relationships among different entities to work on improving mental health services throughout our community and state. The Task Force, chaired by Area VP for Comcast Chris Dunkeson and behavioral health expert Dr. Paul Hopkins, is focusing on building a collaborative between mental health service providers and law enforcement agencies to reduce the impact that mental health issues can have on crime.