Please take the time to sign our petition, it doesn’t matter if you are not a resident of New Mexico. We are so close to reaching our goal of 2300 signatures.Tomorrow, February 16th, 2016 we will be taking our signatures to the legislature, because it is a 30-day session to persuade them not to take more funding away from behavioral health services.
Our state does not have Comprehensive and Integrated Behavioral Health services. Research indicates this is the best approach to helping individuals and families who are in need of Behavioral Health support. As New Mexicans, we deserve the BEST.
Historically, New Mexico has had challenges in providing comprehensive and integrated services. In 2013, the state audited and accused 15 established behavioral health providers of fraud. Services were impacted. Five Arizona companies were then contracted to take over patient care. This resulted in 10,000 less people receiving services between 2012 and 2013, according to the interagency Behavioral Health Collaborative.
Now, two of the Arizona companies have left New Mexico and our people are again left in the lurch with inconsistent and disconnected services.
Generation Justice has spent the last year listening to the stories of our community. In this process we have conducted 60 interviews with advocates, providers, and people who use and need behavioral health services. These are the gaps they shared with us:
Lack of consistent care and high turnover therapists.
Overmedication of patients or the use of only medications without other integrated therapies.
Shortage of qualified behavioral health professionals, especially bilingual and multicultural clinicians.
Postponed or delayed Psychiatric care due to long waits to see psychiatrists. This creates more problems for patients and can lead to more hospitalizations, emergency utilization, and even arrests.
Shortage in available drug and alcohol treatment resources due to unnecessary restrictions on Medicaid reimbursement for treatments and providers that are covered by Medicaid in other states.
Negative stereotypes of mental illness that stigmatize people who need care.
Extended waitlists even for people who are in crisis.
New Mexicans are suffering from severe gaps and disconnection in services. This must change. We can no longer accept the fact that jails and prisons have become the state’s largest providers of behavioral health services.
With the 2016 legislative session almost upon us, NOW is the time for our elected officials to do something—take action, bridge the gaps. We can’t afford to go another year waiting for something to change.
It’s no secret the best behavioral health systems are the ones providing Comprehensive, Integrated and Culturally Appropriate care for each patient, and this is possible in New Mexico. All New Mexicans deserve the opportunity to live healthy lives.
To share your story about your experience with NM’s behavioral health system or watch the stories of others, visit generationjustice.org/nmspeaks