By Cindy Foster

UNM Mental Health Lending Library Open to the Community in Rio Rancho

Reading can be its own form of therapy. Patients and families can find solace, education and good role models in reading, according to Christopher Morris, PhD, with The University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and director of the new UNM Behavioral Health Clinic in Rio Rancho.

"Knowing one is not alone, reading about how others have handled similar situations and learning new coping skills can all be helpful for patients and their families," Morris says.

Now the clinic has a new free lending library available to community members. It features a variety of books anyone can checkout.

The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Checking out a book is free and easy at the front counter in the clinic.

Partnering with the community has been a priority since the clinic began operations this past summer at the UNM Health Sciences Rio Rancho campus, Morris says.

The clinic recently began a partnership with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department to work with at-risk teenagers. It is also offering free, quarterly "Mental Health First Aid Toolkit" classes to all members of the public.

Other collaborations are being forged to provide the Rio Rancho Public Schools with educational programs during the fall of 2020 about the different types of mental health resources available in Sandoval County.

The long-term goal is to chip away at the stigma attached to mental illness and the hesitancy many people feel in seeking help, Morris says.
He adds he would like to see people regard mental health checkups as routinely as "taking trips to the dentist."

"It doesn't mean a long-term commitment, either," he says. "Many of our patients have seen a great deal of benefit in just a few visits spread out over several months. Having services accessible through primary care services reduces the stigma of asking for help."

The UNM Community Behavioral Health Clinic is located on the second floor of the UNM Health Sciences Rio Rancho campus building at 2600 College Blvd. in the Rio Rancho City Center.

For more information on the library or other services at the clinic, please call 505-994-5050.