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BEHAVORIAL HEALTH

Local behavioral health collaborative forming

Posted

More than 70 people, including Las Cruces Mayor Pro-tem Kasandra Gandara and Doña Ana County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds, attended a Feb. 18 organizational meeting as Las Cruces continues creation of the LC3 Behavioral Health Collaborative.

Families and Youth, Inc. (FYI) Collaborative Coordinator Rose Ann Vasquez said the collaborative has 54 community partners, including La Clinica de Familia, the city, the city police and fire departments, the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department, Memorial Medical Center, Las Cruces Public Schools, Doña Ana Community College, La Casa, Inc.’s Domestic Violence Program and National Alliance on Mental Health New Mexico.

LC3’s purpose is “to build an ‘ideal behavioral-health system’ model in New Mexico, which facilitates a community collaborative that is inclusive, organized, centered on the individual and family and is committed to providing the best services for people in our communities.”

Vasquez said work to create the collaborative began last December, with 35 people attending the first organizational meeting, 65 attending a second meeting in January and 72 attending the Feb. 18 meeting.

A BHC board of directors was elected at the Feb. 18 meeting. They are Paul Ford, coordinator of the Las Cruces Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare unit; Judy Baca, community liaison for Mesilla Valley Hospital; Sandra Emmanuel, chief executive officer of Peak Behavioral Health Services; Melissa Ontiveros, special operations coordinator for the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico; Tenika Sosa-Gonzalez, RN, behavioral health director for Memorial Medical Center; Julie Molina, supervisor of FYI’s Juvenile Assessment and Reporting Center; John Burch, life coach; Maria Bagwell, a social worker for La Clinica de Familia; David Reyes, peer advocate for the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Marianne Hernandez, protective services manager for the New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department; and Jolene Martinez, FYI clinical director, as an ex-officio member.

Vasquez said additional board members may be elected at the collaborative’s next meeting.

The collaborative has identified three objectives:

• Set shared regional behavioral-health priorities for restoring system stability through the development and wide-scale distribution of a strategic plan that clearly defines behavioral-health goals and allows for the coordinated facilitation of those goals.

• Develop regional training capacity through evidence-based, behavioral-health-provider training opportunities that build the behavioral-health system and support access to specialty providers.

• Work with local and regional behavioral-health providers and system of care administrators to develop services and programs that fill service continuum gaps.

In his 2020 State of the City address, delivered Feb. 19 at City Hall, Mayor Ken Miyagishima said LC3 is working toward “the creation of a diverse, cross-sector coalition to coordinate and align, within a jointly developed plan and vision, the work of all the many heroic individuals and organizations that make up the behavioral health system for members of our community.”

Vasquez said LC3 meetings are held 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month, with the next meeting being March 17, at La Clinica de Familia, 385 Calle de Allegra.