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New Mexico plans to expand behavioral health crisis intervention teams across state

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) — Health officials in New Mexico are working to expand crisis response for behavioral health situations. The New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) says that through support from the American Rescue Plan, "community-based mobile crisis intervention teams" will grow across the state.

Officials hope that this will help better serve New Mexicans in crisis.

"New Mexico’s state plan amendment adds mobile crisis response and crisis planning, facilitation of in-person handoffs between health care team members, referrals to ongoing supports, and follow up check-ins for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis," the DHS said in a release. 

The state's Human Services Department proposal for community-based mobile CIT teams was approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week. New Mexico officials believe this support will help expand crisis services under Medicaid in the state.

The DHS proposal allows New Mexico to design a system of crisis intervention teams to serve various areas of the state, and to make sure trained professionals are available to Medicaid customers. These CIT teams will provide response, assessment, stabilization and support services.

In a statement, HSD said that the approval "significantly advances the state’s efforts to enhance community-based behavioral health crisis care." The cabinet secretary for New Mexico's HSD says this "significant milestone" shows the state's commitment to expanding mental health and substance use care -- specifically crisis care.

“The deployment of this innovative approach will enable us to better serve New Mexicans in crisis, ensuring that they receive the timely and comprehensive support they require," said Secretary Kari Armijo. "We are committed to leveraging these resources to bolster our state's behavioral health care landscape and to continue working toward a healthier and more resilient community for all." 

DHS says New Mexico is the 15th state to put resources from the American Rescue Plan to community-based behavioral health care services.

There will also be five expansions to child behavioral health service, including multi-systemic therapy; functional family therapy; trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, among others.

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful

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