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Behavioral and Mental Health Advocates Show Support for Tax Increase


People meetingMental health advocates in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are ramping up support for a proposed one-eighth percent gross receipt tax increase to bolster mental health services in the community. The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners are expected to vote on the measure during its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. in the Vincent E. Griego Chambers that would generate about $15 - $20 million to connect existing resources and close huge gaps in services and programs for individuals who need comprehensive mental health treatment.

“There is no shortage of evidence demonstrating the need for more mental health resources,” says Commissioner Debbie O’Malley. “Just look at what’s going on with the tent city homeless undoubtedly, some of those folks have treatment needs that the community can’t address.”

Today Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, Commissioner Debbie O’Malley and community advocates held a news conference to demonstrate widespread support for the new revenue.  If county commissioners approve the tax increase, the revenue would fund priorities such as supportive housing, a crisis response center, intensive case management and prevention programs.

The county is now developing a business plan that will coordinate existing resources and work with providers, families, law enforcement, and other local governments to integrate recommendations from stakeholders and establish a framework for setting priories and distributing funds. 

Attorney and former Albuquerque Police Department Sgt. Thomas Grover said:

“For eight years, I patrolled the streets of downtown Albuquerque and the Valley as an Albuquerque police officer. For me, interacting with people in various states of mental health disorders was not a daily or weekly incident, but truly an hourly occurrence.”

“Increased mental health funding will make our community safer for individuals, families and, in turn help law enforcement do their job. It will result in taxpayer savings by reducing the high costs of incarceration and hospitalization and also get those in crisis the treatment they need.”

Crossroads for Women Executive Director KC Quirk:

“At Crossroads for Women, we know that with the right support, care and access to appropriate resources, people can recover from the instability that comes with untreated mental health and addiction disorders. People can heal from trauma and can and will move forward with their lives in healthy, meaningful and productive ways.” 

"It’s why we stand strongly in support for an increased investment in services to address mental health disorders."

Crossroads for Women is a nonprofit that provides housing and an array of comprehensive services designed to support women with mental health and addiction disorders who are breaking free from the cycle of homelessness and incarceration.

Current client of Crossroads for Women Araceli Escalante:

"As a mother and community member, my mental health impacts more than just me--it impacts my family.  I am asking the Bernalillo County Commission to invest in mental health solutions so that more families like mine can have access to the resources and healthcare they need."

“Bernalillo County has an opportunity to take concrete action that will improve access to behavioral and mental health services in our community,” says Commission Chair Maggie Hart Stebbins. “The residents of Bernalillo County have stated loud and clear that they want this to happen and as community leaders, we are prepared to show some leadership on this issue and act now.”

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