Like the multicolored hues of our fall days, Taos Behavioral Health (TBH) provides the community with a rich variety of specially designed services to youth, adults, and families of Taos. As the school year settles into a more familiar routine—parents and youth deal with the impacts of the last two years. Academic achievement has suffered, youth lost touch with a wider group of friends, families struggled to respond to changing schedules of schools and health scares. Throughout this period, it felt like we were “holding a finger in a dike” stated TBH CEO Simon Torrez.
Now TBH strengthens our services that have been designed to meet the specific challenges of our clients. Strong clinical services, creative community support services and rapid responses to emergencies have shaped programs that provide safe places for youth and adult clients to grow and recover. Here are three of such responsive programs:
Based in Questa, Red River, Cimarron and Eagles Nest, React serves youth aged 4-16 with a variety of services. Led by Director Angela Ondanzola and Supervisor Oralia Gonzales, React uses the models of services developed in Taos. Youth are seen in school settings to support their in-class behavior, attend after school sessions, and have Friday and summer programs. One of the creative services used is Telehealth in which a licensed therapist meets online with individual clients. Staff carefully monitor the success of these services to match an appropriate model with the student’s needs. Forty students and their families are currently served in this program.
The Family Center is located at the TBH agency site on Bertha Street in Taos and serves children from 5 to 19 and their families. Led by Director Ashley Branch and Supervisor Diana Cardenas, the Center serves 70 clients in a rich variety of models. Medication management can be provided through a referral to the TBH’s prescribing psychologist. One on one, family and group therapy are available. Strong community services are coordinated by the TBH Coordinated Community Service staff. Seasonal therapeutic programs are offered during fall, spring and summer breaks from school. The Nurturing Center at Enos Garcia Elementary School is a strong source of family referrals.
Previously known as the SUCCESS program, Integrity First serves students from 6th. through 12th. grades and their families. Primarily based in school settings, Integrity First has a strong emphasis on helping students understand generational trauma and cultural messages of life paths. The Tiered Model of programing is used to identify the level of service needed: 1. Informal support 2. Deliberate scheduled support service. 3. Crisis response
Integrity First actively works to help students explore pathways to a vocation and the transition to adulthood. A great deal of the work is individual therapy to maintain respect for cultural traditions but also move to establishing independence.
In the past two years, TBH has increased its staff numbers and enhanced the training models available for individuals to achieve or maintain professional licensing and credentials. Support models developed by the administration have enhanced benefits available to staff with a strong emphasis on individualized responsive planning. The stress felt by our clients deeply impacts our staff—who have entered this profession with a strong commitment to serve their community. They are thus sensitive to the crises and progress of their clients. Regular group and individual planning and supervising meetings have maintained a strong pride in the work we do for the Taos community. It is varied, creative, and responsive to the needs we identify. We are proud of the journey we are on.
TBH has the largest licensed and credentialed Behavioral Health staff in northern New Mexico. We can be reached at www/TaosBehavioralHelath.org, 575-758-4297, or 105 Bertha Suite B in Taos for scheduled appointments.
Mary McPhail Gray is the Board Chair of TBH and can be reached at 575-779-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org