Soteria House – Las Cruces, New Mexico
ISEPP's past Executive Director, Al Galves, Ph.D., has been working hard on the development of a Soteria House program in New Mexico, named Soteria Las Cruces.
Soteria House is the brainchild of the late Harvard and Stanford trained psychiatrist Loren Mosher, M.D., Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia at the National Institute of Mental Health in the 1980s. Soteria was an unorthodox and novel idea for helping people who had been labeled schizophrenic. It was an intensive program based on a psychosocial and supportive residential approach that demonstrated effectiveness without the use of psychiatric drugs or other medical model approaches.
The Soteria Las Cruces program's advisory board includes the former Leader Pro Tempore of the New Mexico Senate, a current State Representative, the former Director of the Border Health Program, and the woman who was the driving force behind the development of drug courts in New Mexico.
The effort has received $50,000 from the state Behavioral Health Services Division for preliminary planning and a commitment of $30,000 from Dona Ana County for implementation planning once funding is approved by the legislature.
Dr. Galves' team made two presentations to the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee. They have strong support from two of the members, a representative who appropriated the $50,000 from her "Junior" money and Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, vice-chair of the Committee and a senior Senator with a lot of influence in the Senate.
Representative Joanne Ferrary will be introducing a bill to appropriate $966,000 for the first year operation of Soteria Las Cruces. The Advisory Board members are talking with legislators in anticipation of the session which will convene in early January.
The team's priority now is lobbying legislators and getting ready to testify before the committees and the legislature once it convenes in January.
If you are interested in helping, contact Al Galves at email@example.com.