ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County has released an app to support those struggling with mental health. Evan Gonzales, a community program specialist with the Department of Behavioral Health Services, said the goal was to create something to help the community find the resources they need, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
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“Isolation, along with other factors really caused individuals to recognize behavioral health needs, whether it’s for themselves, a loved one, a family member, a friend. So we really took that to heart and as we continue services as a department, we also realized people need resources,” Gonzales said.
The department operates the Care Campus, which is a detox facility. Gonzales said as clients are being discharged, they encourage them to download the app so they’re able to have the resources they need at their fingertips. “As the app launched, we really grew organically through word-of-mouth, and friends and family. The app was able to be shared by a lot of different people who found it beneficial,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales said they wanted to make it as easy as possible for members of the community to access their services. If there is someone who is interested in a specific service offered by the department, the app uses GPS to locate how far away they are from that service and the best route to get there. “That’s really important for those individuals who might not have easy transportation, they’re able to find places and services that are within walking distance,” Gonzales said. “We’ve seen a lot of our clients and community members succeed with that because they’re finally able to find those services that are close to them.”
In addition to the short-term detox center, the Department of Behavioral Health Services has an overnight sobering service called Public Inebriate Intervention Program. It provides a safe environment for individuals to come down from the substances in their system.
The Crisis Stabilization Unit works closely with local emergency rooms and hospitals. “That way we can best offer those services to clients without taking up extra ER beds,” Gonzales said.
These kinds of services are made possible through the Behavioral Health Initiative. The initiative was approved by voters in favor of taxing themselves to help create a healthcare system for behavioral health. The department has worked to embed itself into the community by working with local organizations, Gonzales said, in order to help as many people as they can. “It’s just great that we’re able to partner with them, and this app really helps us shine a light on those services that are offered at no cost to Bernalillo County residents as a result of this behavioral health tax,” Gonzales said.
The app is available for both Android and iPhone users. For more information, visit bernco.gov/department-behavioral-health-services.