The recent developments in the John Hyde case highlight a major problem with mental health care in New Mexico. A lack of in patient facilities to treat those in need of mental health care. Las Vegas Medical Center is the primary facility for mentally ill patients from all over New Mexico. The waiting list is long and most individuals court ordered to the facility spend months in jail before getting a bed in the facility.
Let's think about that for a second, people with mental health issues who need in patient treatment are awaiting that treatment in a jail. Those who do not mess up bad enough to get arrested and then have the courts send them to jail prior to getting a bed, roam our streets as members of our homeless population. Or they live semi normal lives until the day they snap. Take a look at the recent cases of John Hyde and Cho Seung-Hui the Virginia Tech Killer. Both had brushes with the mental health systems in their states and both states failed them and their eventual solution was mass murder.
New Mexico needs to expand our mental health system and provide expanded in patient care. The waiting lists are too long and continued outpatient care is lacking in resources and funding. those in need of constant care and monitoring need a system that provides that care as well as funds the care. Many mentally ill individuals are unable to hold down jobs especially with out assistance and monitoring to ensure they are taking their medications. Going back to the Johnson administration we have cut and underfunded mental health facilities and programs. New Mexico needs to invest in these programs and begin to be proactive in preventing these kinds of deaths.