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Click Here to View our September Newsletter 2017

Information Meeting: Mental Health Care Improvements at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center

Join us for our upcoming Information Meeting: Mental Health Care Improvements at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center.

This meeting will feature guest speakers from St. Vincent Medical Center.

All of our information meetings are open to the general public and free of charge.

Guest Speakers

Mary Magnusson, RN, Manager, Behavioral Health Unit

Monica Leyba, RN, Executive Director of Nursing

Kathy Armijo Etre, PHD, VP of Mission and Community Health

Jessie Carolina, MSW, Manager, Community Health


September 11, 2017, 5:30-7 PM


Presbyterian Urgent Care, Community Room

454 St. Michael’s Drive

Santa Fe, NM 87505

Christus St. Vincent

Assessment of Behavioral Health Services               by Daniel Hirshey

On August 23, Anne Albrink and Daniel Hirshey had a face to face meeting with Mr. Mike Katzenstein, the consultant hired by CSV to perform an assessment of Christus St. Vincent’s Hospital Behavioral Health Services.  On August 28, Betty Sisneros Shover met with him via telephone.  Here are some brief summaries of what we discussed:

  • We pointed out that there seems to be a disconnect between what is being relayed to ER staff by families and first responders in relation to admittance into the BHU. We expressed a desire for ER staff to seek out information from the families and first responders and take it into account during evaluations. We cited several of the examples from the public forum of people in dire need, being turned away despite the concerns of law enforcement and the families.
  • We also discussed concerns about how CSV’s methodology for applying the criteria for admittance into the BHU puts BH intakes, their loved ones and the community at risk when they are in need and not admitted
  • We pointed out issues with the level of training with the ER staff in dealing with BH patients and families
  • We pointed out the long, often unattended waits of patients being brought in for BH evaluations
  • We called his attention to the issues surrounding the BH isolation room; including cleanliness.
  • We discussed the challenges of treating and assessing BH patients and substance abuse treatment, and the challenges in addressing the substance abuse component within the current framework.
  • We discussed the concerns about the number of beds and the reality that the BHU is rarely at capacity.
  • We discussed the need for follow up coordination upon release from the BHU
  • We expressed our desire for CSV to more actively involve themselves in community organizations and initiatives. When he asked what we thought the role of the hospital ought to be, we told him we would like a functioning BHU and more communication and integration within the community to determine what the needs of the community were in order to work together on meeting those needs.
  • We stressed the importance of having a functional intake process and BHU for our immediate community and the surrounding area.
  • We noted that CSV was generous with community funding and had awarded a grant to NAMI Santa Fe a couple of years ago
  • We expressed our desire to have CSV participate in implementing Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) and Treatment Guardianship, which they do not do today.

If anyone has any questions or wants more detail, feel free to email:

Daniel Hirshey, Anne Albrink, Betty Shover

Hospital Committee Report

This report summarizes the most recent Hospital Committee meeting held on 8/08/17.

The Committee discussed the intake process for BH patients, to include those with co-occurring illnesses.  Patients, loved ones, and caretakers continually try to better understand how it works.

Mary Magnusson will report in on Friday, August 11th, as the BHU Manager, replacing Susan Kammerer.

She comes to the position highly qualified and will meet with the Committee at the September meeting. After the resignation of Jacqueline Williams, the Clinical Manager of Emergency Psychiatric Services position that was to be filled by her will not be filled.

The Emergency Psychiatric Services Room, in the ED, is now operational.  The recent fatal shooting of a man diagnosed with schizophrenia is being investigated by CSV.

Several Committee members will meet this month with an “expert” consultant to the CSV CEO to share NAMI-SF concerns regarding BH services and best practices.  Treatment Guardians and Assisted Outpatient Treatment will be addressed, among other topics.  Provider Education for BH professionals will be reemphasized at CSV.

-John Harnish, Committee Chair

Mental Health Advocate Shares ‘Deeply Personal’ Reason for Work          By Anthony Moreno, KRWG News | September 3, 2017

Mental health advocates work daily to address the needs of those with behavioral health issues. One of those advocates is Micah Pearson, who was recently selected to serve on the national board of the National Alliance On Mental Illness, or NAMI.

On a recent episode of KRWG-TV’s “In Focus,” Pearson shared a personal reason he works as an advocate. He says he is a person living with Bipolar disorder — type one, rapid cycling with psychotic features — and he says he has also had an unfortunate experience with law enforcement, being placed in detention without access to treatment for an extended period of time.

“A lot of the work I do with our community and our organization as a whole is to prevent that from happening to other people,” says Pearson.

Pearson, who used to work as an information technology manager at The Washington Post, says he had a pretty good life. However, Pearson also says he was in an abusive marriage with his second wife, a relationship he says actually led to him getting an accurate diagnosis of his behavioral health issues.

“The fact of the matter was that I wasn’t engaged with psychiatric services before I got into that relationship,” Pearson says.

Pearson says his wife abused him physically and emotionally and stabbed him, which led to law enforcement showing up to his home one day.

“The police came and saw that I was 6 feet tall and she was 4-foot-11, and that I had a diagnosed mental health condition, and locked me up,” Pearson says.

He says he was in custody in Virginia for over two weeks. During his first week, he says he was kept in a holding cell where the lights were never turned off. He had a small window, and he was dressed in what he describes as a “smock” or “turtle suit.”

It was a difficult but illuminating time in that detention center that Pearson says was located just over a mile from NAMI national headquarters, which he didn’t know at the time.

During his time in detention, Pearson says he was denied a public defender. He says he eventually he was able to acquire an attorney with his parents’ help. The attorney successfully argued for his release and got an assault charge dropped, Pearson says. He pleaded guilty to another charge so he could get a waiving of probation that would allow him to leave Maryland and start over in Las Cruces, where his parents were living, so he could begin treatment for his behavioral health issues.

“I actually did end up with a criminal record solely so I could engage in mental health treatment,” says Pearson.

Once he moved to Las Cruces, Pearson started treatment and recovery, and eventually started to do community work and advocacy with NAMI. He says he built relationships with providers and people in the community, and that helps him in his daily work.

Pearson says the National Alliance On Mental Illness works on legislative advocacy, and provides education for families, peers and providers. He says the organization is active in Doña Ana County.

“We have family and peer education programs. We also have family and peer support groups, and at the legislative level we work with the county and the state on several different jail diversion programs,” Pearson says.

One of the unfortunate realities of the United States, Pearson says, is that the prisons are what he calls “the largest mental health facilities.” There are many people facing behavioral health issues in prisons.

“Conservative estimates are anywhere between 30 to 60 percent of any given detention center are people living with mental health conditions,” Pearson says.

In a recent story, KRWG News cited a 2006 study by the Department of Justice that found that 64 percent of local jail inmates, 56 percent of state prisoners, and 45 percent of inmates in federal prisons have symptoms of serious mental illness.

Pearson says those with mental health issues should be treated as having health issues — instead of leaving the criminal justice system to deal with the issues.

“Mental health is only a criminal justice issue when we have failed them in every possible way,” says Pearson.

In Doña Ana County, Pearson says he has a good feeling about the “Stepping Up Initiative” that he says has brought together county officials, mental health providers, first responders, law enforcement, social workers and NAMI to figure out how to improve behavioral health services in the county and reduce the number of people in detention with mental illness.

Micah Pearson is the now the President of NAMI-DAC (Dona Ana County) and was recently elected to the national Board of Directors. NAMI Santa Fe Congratulates Micah on his work and thanks him for representing New Mexico at NAMI National.

Find Help, Find Hope: Family to Family Enrolling Now

NAMI Santa Fe is now seeking students for out Family to Family Education Program. Family to Family is a free, 12-session educational program for family, significant others and friends of people living with mental illness.

Research shows that the program significantly improves the coping and problem-solving abilities of the people closest to an individual living with a mental health condition.

Our next class is scheduled to begin in September, but the exact dates of the classes will be determined by the availability of our participants and announced later.

To learn more about this program, please visit our website at: You can also call 505-466-1668 or email us at Please be sure to spread the news about this life-changing program!

Calling All Volunteers!

NAMI Santa Fe recently welcomed a new crop of volunteers into our organization. We thank them for the unique perspectives that they will bring to our work. If you are interested in volunteering with NAMI Santa Fe, please contact us through our website or email: You can also call 505-466-1668 and leave a message.

Program Updates       

Family Support Group

Free, confidential groups of families supporting other families who live with mental health challenges.


September 25th at 6:00 PM

October 2nd at 12:00 Noon

October 23rd at 6:00 PM


The Life Link, La Luna Room

2325 Cerrillos Rd. 87505

Family to Family

Enrolling now.

Please call 505-466-1668, email, or visit to learn more.

About Town – The following postings are not NAMI Santa Fe programs, however we want you to know about other organizations doing great work for our community.

Unitarian Universalist Santa Fe

NAMI Santa Fe would like to thank Unitarian Universalist Santa Fe for their generous donation. Betty Sisneros Shover was once again welcomed to the Unitarian Universality Santa Fe (UUSF) congregation to speak about NAMI Santa Fe on Sunday morning, September 3rd. The church members generously contributed $800 to our cause. Thank you UUSF!

Inside] Out 2017 Opening Art + Exhibition and Sale

Announcing the 5th Annual Inside] Out Art Event. Inside] Out offers art programs for individuals living with mental illness, and showcases their work in an annual exhibition. Proceeds benefit the Compassionate Touch Network and the Artists.

Opening Night + Artists Monologues

Friday, September 15th, 5-7 PM

Gallery Exhibit

Friday September 15th through Saturday, October 14th

Monday – Friday, 10 AM- 5 PM/ Saturdays 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM


Santa Fe Community Gallery

201 W. Marcy Street

(At the intersection of Marcy and Sheridan)

All Events are Free and Open to the Public. For more information Visit www. or www., Contact: , 505-577-7840

Recovery Santa Fe invites you to attend their annual Rally for Recovery

Help us make Santa Fe a Recovery-Friendly Community!

For more information about this event, please visit , or contact Tom Starke:,, 505.412.0860.

This year’s Rally for Recovery is supported by the NM Office of Peer Recover and Engagement (OPRE), Impact DWI, Erin’s Mom and Dad, Subaru of Santa Fe and the
following sponsors:

Newsletter Archives:

August 2017 Newsletter WEB PDF

NAMI_Summer2017 Web Version 

June 2017 News,  NAMIMay2017_NAMI,  NAMIWinter2017_v4 (4),  NAMI-FALL2016_NAMI,  NAMI-Summer2016_NAMI,  NAMI-SF-Spring2016-Newsletter,  NAMI-Winter2016, 

NAMI Santa Fe Fall 2015 Newsletter, NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, SUMMER2015, NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, May 2015,NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, January-March 2015, NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, November 2014

NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, September 2014, NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, July-August 2014, NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, May 2014, NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, March 2014, NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, November 2013

NAMI Santa Fe Newsletter, September 201