RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM

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Current Research

Landscape of Behavioral Health in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County
The City of Albuquerque commissioned this report in order to identify the volume, types, and levels of behavioral health services available to residents of the city and Bernalillo County. In this context, “behavioral health” refers to mental health and substance use conditions. This report highlights expected and unmet need, and suggests next steps for collaborative continued improvement. We hope to integrate these findings within the broader work of the Task Force on Behavioral Health which includes elected officials from the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and the State of New Mexico and the voices of consumers, families, providers, first responders, and other important stakeholders.

Project Goals

  • Provide an inventory of behavioral health services in Bernalillo County emphasizing treatment services available to those relying on public funds or with limited income.
  • Characterize gaps in the current system and need for behavioral health services.

Complexities in Behavioral Health Planning
Many factors influence the gap between need and availability of behavioral health services in a community. Best practices indicate an array of interventions including inpatient treatment, crisis care, outpatient therapy and medical care, as well as a number of evidenced-based psychosocial supports, such as supported housing and supported employment. Use of these services within a community varies depending on accessibility, coordination across services and whether there is an adequate system for early detection, diagnosis and treatment planning. In a system with inadequate community based services, individuals and families with behavioral health conditions can go without care for far too long. This may result in crises which could have been averted with prevention.
Given the complexity of these factors and in order to aid behavioral health planning, data has been integrated from several resources: an in-depth survey of providers in the city and databases from county, state, federal, and health agencies.
The data shared here are aimed at helping the City, County and State, residents, and public servants collaborate to create a coordinated response to unmet behavioral health needs in our community.