Thursday, July 24, 2014

Young Dropout Students and Behavioral Health Services

Is the State Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD) providing the services needed to youth at risk in the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico? Did Governor Martinez make a huge mistake by taking over the behavioral health services in the city? How well are our young adults being serviced by the current system? A system ran by outsiders from Arizona who has no understanding of what is going on in our city.

You have to wonder why the three young men that killed two Native American homeless men in our city did not show up on the radar of school officials when it came to their mental health status. Our society does not approve of children attacking adults from any culture in this city. The parent of one of these young men told a local news station that he did not know where to turn for help. Has budget cuts by Arizona companies caused an increase in violent crimes committed by young adults in our city. Should the Governor take the blame for failing these young adults? Where is the outreach to parents of children who drop out of city school early?

Should our communities really be surprised that young men who have no hope of getting jobs turn to violent crime as a way to make money?  Homeless individuals are among the most vulnerable in our communities. The homeless have no place to lock up the small amounts of money they have that would be safe. They are often on drugs and/or alcohol so that their judgment is impaired. Some are returning veterans who have difficulties due to brain injuries from the wars. Some of the homeless are just mentally ill themselves. Homeless individuals make prime targets for young possibility mentally ill individuals looking to harm others and make a few dollars in the process. The three young men who killed the two homeless men clearly displayed signs of antisocial behavior.

Where is the governor in all this mess? Why has the major not done more to deal with the homeless in this city? Crimes against the homeless have been around for a long time yet little has been done during the current recession to reduce the number of people on the streets of our city. Heading Home is a good program but it is far too limited in resources to handle the thousands of homeless in this city. Why is there not already an outreach program that makes sure that homeless individuals feel safe to report crimes committed in our city. Could these deaths have been prevented if other crimes had been reported earlier? Mayor Berry’s answer is always to deal with the crisis rather than to spend enough money on prevention.