By Makenzie McNeill

Bernalillo County and UNM Hospital to Celebrate the Opening of the Behavioral Health Crisis Center

After nearly two years of construction, the highly anticipated Behavioral Health Crisis Center (BHCC) is set to take its first patients on June 25, 2024.

“This center is a testament to what we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal. Through our shared vision and commitment, we have created a center that will provide critical support and resources to those in crisis.”

Julie Morgas Baca, Bernalillo County Manager

The BHCC is a joint project between Bernalillo County and UNM Hospital.

The endeavor was made possible by a behavioral health initiative tax passed by voters in Bernalillo County in 2014 to address the serious need for additional mental health services in the community.  

The revenues from this tax have allowed Bernalillo County to implement a variety of mental health services throughout the Albuquerque area.

In 2022, Bernalillo County partnered with UNM Hospital to create the BHCC, the centerpiece of this initiative that combined $20 million in county funds and a $20 million match from the hospital.

“The partnership between UNM Hospital and Bernalillo County is really a combined effort to create meaningful solutions to some of our community’s biggest challenges. We can be more successful in making a difference when we use our mutual resources, funds and skills to work together. I’m so grateful to County Manager Morgas Baca, the Bernalillo County Commission, and the county’s staff for making this vision a reality with us.”

Kate Becker, CEO, UNM Hospital

Services Offered

UNM Hospital already provides a full spectrum of behavioral health care to New Mexicans across the state with the University Psychiatric Center for adults and the Children’s Psychiatric Center. These facilities provide psychiatric emergency services, inpatient acute care, psychiatric urgent care and addiction treatment, and a broad range of outpatient mental health services.

However, a gap still remains in the continuum of care available to behavioral health patients in New Mexico.

That’s where the BHCC comes in as a centralized behavioral health care facility that bridges the gap in the continuum of care for patients who do not need traditional inpatient care, but need more support than regular outpatient care.    

The BHCC measures 48,699 square feet and contains three important services that assist patients with different needs.

The Crisis Triage Center (CTC) provides medium-acuity crisis stabilization services with 16 single patient rooms. Other spaces in the CTC include group therapy and staff support areas, as well as an observation unit.

The Peer-Based “Living Room” Model offers low-acuity walk-in or referral services in a welcoming environment accessed by a separate public entrance and lobby. This program also includes a respite area, living room space, nourishment area and client work rooms.

Additionally, the UNM Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Services is expanding its existing program to the BHCC to better serve patients who present with greater psychiatric acuity. This new space has more room for adult patients and includes dedicated rooms for pediatric patients, as well.

The opening of the BHCC will enable New Mexicans who struggle with behavioral or mental health issues to access appropriate levels of care in this new, larger facility.  Its “no wrong door” approach makes sure that patients receive access to the services that they need.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter in New Mexico health care,” said Bernalillo County Commission Chair Barbara Baca. “The Behavioral Health Crisis Center will offer comprehensive and compassionate care to New Mexicans struggling with behavioral or mental health issues.”

Timeline of Construction

  • December 2018: The Bernalillo County Commission approved a one-time capital investment for the Behavioral Health Crisis Triage Center to be built on UNM’s campus.
  • January 2020: UNM Hospital agrees to match Bernalillo County’s investment of $20 million to total $40 million of a total investment.
  • October 2020: Site identified for facility on UNM’s campus.
  • July 2022: Construction of facility begins
  • September 2022: Groundbreaking celebration with community
  • June 2024: Ribbon cutting celebration and doors open to the public

For a comprehensive fact sheet CLICK HERE


If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, call 911. For the Suicide and Crisis Hotline, call 988.


The Behavioral Health Crisis Center is located at 2600 Marble NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

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