Essential Services Study and Gap Analysis
Funding for Essential Services Study
Last July, I sponsored a resolution that provided $35,000 in funding for an Essential Services Study to assess the gaps in the City, County and State’s provision of mental health services. I’m pleased to say that the resolution was unanimously passed by the entire City Council, and today we’re seeing the results of that funding.
The Behavioral Health Task Force
The reason the Council funded the Essential Services Study was to help inform and assist the work of the Behavioral Health Task Force, which was formed to assist in the coordination and development of existing and new services to address the behavioral health issues facing the City and the County. Councilors Isaac Benton and Brad Winter sponsored the legislation that created the Task Force, and I want to thank them for their foresight and hard work in making the Task Force a success. I look forward to receiving the final report of the Task Force.
On a personal level, I also want to utilize this study to inform local, state and national policy makers about the dire situation we are facing in our community.
Summary of Essential Services Study
With that said, I am pleased to present the Essential Services Study prepared by the University of New Mexico. The study documents evidence that there is a significant need for more behavioral health services in the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.
This study only touches the surface. There is a clear need for a coordinated infrastructure to maintain and update information regarding resources. The survey also suggests that we don’t have sufficient intermediate levels of care or sufficient recovery based services to support people staying in employment and education.
Specifically, the gaps that need to be addressed are:
- The creation of a more cohesive system of crisis care;
- More intensive day treatment services; and
- More recovery and rehabilitation programs.
While not part of its formal recommendations, the DOJ mentioned in its April report the need to address the mental health crisis in our City. This is but one of many steps we must take to address the underlying issues that plague our community. Mental health and substance abuse issues cut across both ethnic and socio-economic lines.
A Need for Additional Funding
This report presents hard data and facts to support the need for significant additional funding that will provide essential mental health and substance abuse services to the most vulnerable in our community.
We are all in this together and the time is now. The community has asked its political leaders to find solutions. In order to do this, we must be bold and aggressively address the gaps that this report documents, and also implement the recommendations of the Task Force.
You can find the final deliverables (report, presentation, and updated Resource Guide) on the Behavioral Health Task Force webpage. The searchable provider database, along with the report, presentation, and Resource Guide are posted on the University of New Mexico -CEPR website.