Lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions pick up the pieces af­ter long-run­ning clinic shuts down

The Taos News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Cody Hooks chooks@taos­news.com The Taos News

When Tri-County Com­mu­nity Ser­vices em­ploy­ees found out their men­tal health clinic was clos­ing down, they jumped on the task of fig­ur­ing out where nearly 1,000 peo­ple would go to pick up their medicine, talk to their ther­a­pist or get a ride to the doc­tor, all ser­vices the sto­ried or­ga­ni­za­tion once per­formed in North­ern New Mex­ico.

As of Mon­day (Aug. 27), most of those ser­vices had been handed off to other or­ga­ni­za­tions in the com­mu­nity.

Valle del Sol of New Mex­ico picked up the pa­tients with the most com­plex health­care needs in the com­mu­nity. In to­tal, 32 Tri-County clin­i­cians moved over, bring­ing with them the as­sertive com­mu­nity treat­ment (ACT) and psy­cho-so­cial re­hab (PSR).

Tri-County and Valle del Sol were Taos’ two “core ser­vice agen­cies,” a state des­ig­na­tion for or­ga­ni­za­tions that are meant to be a clear­ing­house for men­tal health­care in a com­mu­nity. The agen­cies “co­or­di­nate care and pro­vides es­sen­tial ser­vices to chil­dren, youth and adults who have a se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness, se­vere emo­tional dis­tur­bance, or de­pen­dence on al­co­hol or drugs,” ac­cord­ing to a New Mex­ico be­hav­ioral health web­site.

As Tri-County closed down, Valle del Sol be­came the only core ser­vice agency in Taos. It picked up the bulk of Tri-County’s clients at the di­rec­tion of the state.

But var­i­ous other groups took other pro­grams and ser­vices.

The most com­pre­hen­sive trans­fer to come out of the clo­sure was four youth- and fam­ily-ori­ented clin­i­cians mov­ing to Non­vi­o­lence Works. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is keep­ing the “fam­ily cen­ter” and its team of four providers in the same space on Salazar Road for the next three months, af­ter which they’ll move into a new of­fice space spe­cially built for their needs.

“Kids and young adults... are the back­bone of our agency,” said Non­vi­o­lence Works clin­i­cal direc­tor Karen House. The fam­ily cen­ter, she said, “is a good fit.”

We asked, ‘Who can we serve?’ We would only take on those pieces (of Tri-County) we could sus­tain and sup­port,” House said. “All those pro­grams have to mi­grate some­where.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mary McPhail Gray, board chair of Non­vi­o­lence Works, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has be­tween 700-1,000 pa­tients a year and 70 per­cent of its clients are chil­dren, young adults and stu­dents.

Si­mon Tor­res, Non­vi­o­lence Works CEO, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion could han­dle the in­flux of clin­i­cians and their pa­tients be­cause it is in a strong fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. Only three of their 31 em­ploy­ees are “non-bill­able” ad­min­is­tra­tors, he said.

A peer sup­port group for peo­ple who used to de­pend on Tri-County ser­vices has also been es­tab­lished.

“Peer sup­port en­com­passes a range of ac­tiv­i­ties and in­ter­ac­tions be­tween peo­ple who have shared sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences of be­ing di­ag­nosed with a men­tal health con­di­tion or a chem­i­cal ad­dic­tion. Many in our com­mu­nity have been af­fected by the clos­ing of Tri-County. This group will be the place to share your feel­ings, your frus­tra­tions and your hopes for the fu­ture as we move for­ward. Any­one in the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing fam­ily mem­bers, are in­vited to at­tend,” read a flyer for the group.

The peer sup­port group will meet at The High Fre­quency Loft Tues­days and Thurs­days from 11 a.m. to noon at 1335 Gus­dorf Road, Suite Q, in Taos.

See the graphic, which used in­for­ma­tion from providers and help Outreach Taos, for more in­for­ma­tion about other ser­vices. The main dis­patch line for Valle del Sol ser­vices is (505) 8672383.

‘All those pro­grams have to mi­grate some­where.’

— Karen House, Non­vi­o­lence Works Clin­i­cal Direc­tor

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