Crisis center the result of much work, support

Jessica Dyer’s excellent Journal article May 27 ... about the county’s crisis triage center which will open soon demonstrates what too many people sadly doubt: Government can do things well!

This long-awaited resource for serving behavioral health needs will be a vital entry point for a broad array of integrated services that Bernalillo County has been carefully creating and financing over the past four years with our behavioral health tax funds. New programs are now coming online as the result of many hours of volunteer efforts by concerned citizens serving on planning and oversight committees, and then guided and implemented by excellent county staff and cooperating nonprofit agencies.

The county commission, in partnership with city and UNM leaders, has approved these coordinated services to ensure that now, when our neighbors need the crisis/triage services, there are programs to serve them in their recovery. In the process of creating a network of services, families in our community are more assured of appropriate care for those they love.

Four years ago, when the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce coordinated a delegation of Albuquerque leaders to examine a model program in Tucson, we returned with a vision. A central piece of that vision was a crisis/triage center. Despite the urgency many of us felt, we weren’t ready to create such a center until services were expanded. Now we are ready, and the network of care for our neighbors who suffer from behavioral health needs is much more robust. The tax we voted for and continue to pay is bearing good fruit. Thanks to the leadership of Bernalillo County Commissioners and staff, and the support of volunteers and taxpayers, Albuquerque is a stronger and healthier community.

PAUL E. HOPKINS
Albuquerque
Paul E. Hopkins is a clinical counselor and former chair of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce’s mental health task force

City’s preschool dollars will pay off in long term 

… As a mental health therapist working with Albuquerque’s young children and families, I have the privilege of working closely with parents/caregivers to give their child the best start to life. But it takes a village. Many of our parents return to work in order to provide for their families and contribute to our great city, so it is imperative that all families have access to high-quality and affordable early childhood education.

That’s why I want to thank the Albuquerque City Council for boosting funding for the city’s early childhood development programs for children ages 0 to 5. Not many people know that the city of Albuquerque is one of the largest providers of high-quality, comprehensive, integrated early childhood programs in New Mexico.

By the time a child turns 5, the brain is nearly fully developed.

Scientific studies show that children who get high-quality education early in life are more likely to graduate high school, go to college and live healthier, more productive lives, with reduced rates of criminal behavior, incarceration, unemployment and chronic health issues. Local, state and federal investments in early childhood education are investments in job creation, crime prevention, disease prevention and overall quality of life, with an incomparable 13% return on investment.

I’ve seen the impact early learning can have on kids, and I know the investment is worth it. If more families in Albuquerque can access highquality childcare, we will all have the privilege of seeing Albuquerque reach its highest potential and witnessing the benefits for years to come.

DYLAN DRUSEDUM
Albuquerque
Dylan Dresedum is a clinical counselor