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NMSU's new community mental health clinic moves to Cervantes Village

Date: 08/01/2012

A new community mental health clinic launched in April through the joint efforts of New Mexico State University's College of Education and College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is moving into its new home later this week.

This is a photo of a plaque on a wall in Cervantes Village.
Cervantes Village will be the new home for the NMSU Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic.

The New Mexico State University Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic will be located in part of a duplex in Cervantes Village near the Family Resource Center in the Children's Village, said Esther Devall, head of the Family and Consumer Sciences department.

The clinic is aimed at serving needy residents throughout Dona Ana County, which has been deemed a mental health disparity area, meaning there are not enough mental health care practitioners for people in need.

"There are a lot of great models for university mental health care clinics and we thought this is a place where we have the resources and there is a major need in the community," said Jonathan Schwartz, head of the counseling and education psychology department in the College of Education. "It just seemed natural that we would try to meet that need through developing our clinic."

The NMSU Community Mental Health and Wellness Clinic unites the efforts of existing counseling services provided by the College of Education's Department of Counseling and Education Psychology and Family and Consumer Sciences' Marriage and Family Therapy program in ACES.

Leaders of the two counseling programs began working on creating the joint clinic last year with the blessings of their respective deans, Lowell Catlett in ACES and Michael Morehead in the College of Education.

The two colleges already have pooled their resources to hire a full-time clinic coordinator, Devall said, which is good news since clients already are being treated.

"We have about 15 community clients at the moment and once we move into our new location we'll start doing a lot more outreach and marketing to let more people know about the clinic," Devall said.

On Sept. 19, Devall said, clinic staff will hold an open house for the campus community and residents of Cervantes Village.

"We want people who live in family housing to be able to see what is going on and ask any questions or voice any concerns," Devall said. "We're also using the occasion to introduce the clinic to the campus community."

On Oct. 17, the staff of the clinic will hold a reception for mental health care agencies from across the area.

"We plan to have a reception for them to thank them for all they do in terms of helping our students and also to show them the new clinic," Devall said.

Along with the clinic, the duplex in Cervantes Village also will lodge a simulation house for students to learn how to conduct child abuse investigations. It's part of NMSU's minor in child advocacy studies.

Written by Janet Perez

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