NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Communities across county lines are coming together in hopes of building a regional behavioral health facility in eastern New Mexico. A feasibility study is being conducted in Clovis, Portales, and Fort Sumner to assess the gaps in behavioral health services and provide recommendations to fill those gaps.

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Intitium Health was hired to conduct the survey and is working with local healthcare providers, local government, law enforcement, schools, and more in Curry, De Baca, Roosevelt, and Quay counties. Dr. Laura Bergroth says they’re not just looking at individual health, but also how it plays a role in the community as a whole.

“There is just a strong mental health need. Unfortunately, patients are having to be transported 3-5 hours away to receive the mental health care and treatments that they need and that’s just not acceptable,” said Bergroth.

Bergroth says when police are called out to a scene pertaining to an individual experiencing a mental, behavioral, or substance abuse crisis, law enforcement officials don’t have adequate enough training to deal with the problem. “Unfortunately these individuals are getting caught up in being arrested, jail, and then discharged back out on the street and they never received the care that they need and they were just falling through the gaps,” said Bergroth.

The counties and cities donated money for the study and hope to gather more funding from federal and state grants. Community members are also encouraged to share their perspectives on mental health and substance abuse disorder needs in their communities. The link to do so is on Facebook.

The study is expected to end in April. If successful, construction could start sometime next year.