LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- The Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center is closing after just two and a half years. Officials said the closure is due to a lack of funding.
The center was originally built to provide short-term voluntary mental health crisis care for people in Doña Ana County. The $2.1 million taxpayer-funded center was vacant for eight years, before it finally opened in June of 2021.
Officials said the intention of the center was to ease the burden on emergency rooms and jail and law enforcement officers.
ABC-7 spoke to one former patient who said now she doesn't know where she's going to go. She said she has been in and out of mental healthcare facilities for years.
"I struggled with that my whole life. And, this was, like, the first place that I felt safe," said Libby Cattey.
"I know we make a difference in people's lives, and that is why we commit to it. So I know that what happens when this goes away, is people are going to cycle more into the justice system. Some people that are thinking about ending their life aren't going to have someone they really feel like they can connect to and talk to," said Paul Galdys, Deputy CEO for Recovery Innovations, or RI International, the group that contracted the center.
ABC-7 also spoke with Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart about the closing. She said she's said to see a resource that helps a community where behavioral and mental healthcare is lacking go. But she also said she thinks it is something the community can learn from.
"What have we learned from that experience? What was a takeaway that's a positive, that we could going forward?" she questioned.
Stewart also said there are still options for those in need. The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office works closely with Peak Behavioral Health in Santa Teresa. You can also call the 24/7 suicide and crisis hotline at 988.