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Behavioral health collaborative seeks community’s help to offset funding loss


The LC3 Behavioral Health Collaborative (LC3) of Las Cruces is seeking the community’s help to sustain its multi-year initiative to improve the behavioral health system in Doña Ana County.

“Unfortunately, we received the news that we would not receive funding for the remaining years of the initiative,” said Families and Youth, Inc. (FYI) of Las Cruces Chief Operating Officer Jolene Martinez. “So, this is a call to action to our community partners and key stakeholders to invite them to invest in the future of behavioral health in our communities.”

LC3 is a collective impact strategy initiative that seeks to build the Ideal behavioral health system to close the gaps in services for individuals, families and youth in our communities in the next four years. The backbone agency of LC3 is FYI, whose mission is “to promote a safer and healthier community by focusing on family and children.”

FYI has been established as a nonprofit serving Doña Ana County and the surrounding communities for 40 years. 

The LC3 collaborative needs a pathway to sustainability, especially during the global pandemic. Not only are we in the middle of a public health crisis, we are also experiencing a secondary behavioral health crisis as a result. People have lost their jobs with no safety net, children are isolated at home, parents are overwhelmed and essential workers are doing their best to manage day-to-day.

According to data from Dr. Neal Bowen, director of the New Mexico Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Service Division, New Mexico is expecting a surge in October and anticipates a 20 percent increase in need for behavioral health services across the board, from therapy to hospitalization.

In addition, during late June, 40 percent of adults in the United States reported struggling with mental health or substance use as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, according to a recent study by the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 20 percent of suicides worldwide are attributable to unemployment. (Source: Facebook Event “Town Hall: Behavioral Health Support,” Oct. 6, 2020)

“This news could not have come at a worse time, when people need access to services the most, and just as we launched our community survey, which is a critical step in engaging people in the data assessment process,” said LC3 Co-Chair Melissa Ontiveros, who is special operations coordinator for Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico. “

LC3 is on track to finish its first year with multiple successes despite the pandemic, including a comprehensive data assessment. Partnered with New Mexico State University’s Southwest Outreach Academic Research Evaluation and Policy Center, LC3 has developed the Doña Ana Behavioral Health Feedback community survey, which is a part of the larger data collection process to assess the existing behavioral health infrastructure in the county.

The survey seeks input from residents about what needs to improve regarding behavioral health in Doña Ana County. The assessment is the first step to understanding the needs of the community and informing the strategic planning process to address those needs. Take the survey at https://survey.nmsu.edu/surveys/?s=J3W8DMAT3T.

“The irony is that the board received this news (about the loss of funding) during Mental Health Awareness Week, when we are all focused on reducing stigma around mental health,” said LC3 board member and Peak Behavioral Health Services Chief Executive Officer Sandra Emanuel. “We believe in LC3’s vision, and we will do what it takes to succeed, because many people have invested in our vision and done the work, and we want to honor their efforts.”

LC3 is a diverse, cross-sector of public and private community partners who are involved with all aspects of behavioral and mental health for adults, adolescents and children. There are 170 stakeholders who represent approximately 60 different agencies and organizations in the collaborative, which has an 11-member board of directors.

LC3’s collective objectives are to establish shared regional behavioral health priorities for restoring system disruptions that resulted from the 2013 behavioral health shutdown, increase regional training capacity and evidence-based practices and develop services and programs that fill service continuum gaps. 

For more information about the LC3 Collaborative and how to help sustain the initiative, contact

Rose Ann Vasquez at 575-644-6260 or rvasquez@fyinm.org, or LC3 Community Organizer Jessika Romero at 575-800-4839.