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Dr. Samuel Abbott
- Experience:14 years
- Experience:8 years
- Experience:8 years
- Experience:6 years
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An Overview of Mental Health in Rio Rancho, New Mexico
To experience vast spans of open land, go to Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In this area, you can stand in one spot and see nothing but nature for miles in each direction. The beautiful outdoors, along with the option to fly high in air balloon rides, certainly entice many people to visit the city. A deeper look into the area, however, reveals a variety of living and mental health concerns.
Rio Rancho is home to over 96,000 people, making it the third largest city in New Mexico. The majority race is white Americans at 50.6%. Hispanics largely fill out the remainder of the population at 40.3%. Between the two groups, poverty and substance use are rampant. Though the state has several resources and even a collaborative attempt to improve mental and behavioral health, there are barriers to getting the needed help.
Abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs account for eight of the ten leading causes of death in New Mexico. Many drugs are a problem in New Mexico, but four drugs stand out as the largest mental health challenges for the state.
With the rate of alcohol-related injury or deaths almost double the national rate, New Mexico understandably has the highest alcohol-related death rate of any state. The economic costs of the addiction came out to over $1250 per person in 2006.
The drug-related sentences associated with powdered cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin have increased drastically in the state of New Mexico. In terms of substance use, the state ranked second highest for cocaine, eighth highest for heroin, and fifth highest for methamphetamine in 2016.
Unfortunately, youth make up a large portion of the substance use problems. Students in New Mexico had the second highest rate in the United States of reporting that they had used cocaine. Responses revealed that 4% had used methamphetamine and 3.5% had used heroin.
Trends show that alcohol, on the other hand, is increasingly used as people get older. Students do not report high rates of alcohol use, but the drug abuse problems are increasing drastically. About 70% of drug-related deaths are related to heroin overdoses, and an influx of opioids are entering the drug scene and contributing to mental health concerns in New Mexico.
New Mexico has the highest rate of any state of children living in poverty with over 36% of children under 5 surviving below the poverty line. While child poverty rates have recently decreased in the United States, the rates have increased in New Mexico.
Females aged 25-34 are the largest demographic living in poverty, while white Americans and Hispanics are the largest races below the poverty line. Almost 18% of New Mexicans reported food insecurity, meaning it was difficult to get enough food to survive.
Resources and Barriers
Various treatment resources exist for people who are seeking help.
- PMG Behavioral Health specializes in substance use
- Guadalupe Psychiatric and Mental Health Services provides treatment and care to patients seeking counseling.
- Four Winds Behavioral Health is a treatment center for drug and alcohol abuse.
Though these resources are available, barriers include knowledge and finances. Almost 70% of New Mexicans do not know that the Good Samaritan Law protects them if they seek medical help in the event of an overdose. They might not seek help for fear of legal consequences. Additionally, the inability to pay for treatment keeps some people away from the help they need.
Behavioral Health Collaborative
In 2004, the Legislative session initiated the Behavioral Health Collaborative to respond to the mental health and poverty issues in the state. The goal was, and still is, to create an environment that encourages the prevention and reduction of mental illness and substance abuse. The initiative also seeks to help those getting behavioral health treatment to participate in and enjoy their community.
Some initial problems with the reform include structure, participation, and collaboration. According to research, the state did not have enough resources to support the program, and insufficient communication meant that community tensions were exacerbated rather than ameliorated.
Though challenges exist, the introduction of the Behavioral Health Collaborative reveal an attempt to improve mental health among New Mexicans. The process of mutual learning and discovery has begun in the city of Rio Rancho.
To continue the journey and strengthen the collaborative efforts to improved mental and behavioral health, visit E-Counseling for a directory of therapists and a collection of information about finding help.