The New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute (NMBHI) is the only state owned and operated psychiatric hospital in New Mexico. NMBHI is made up of five clinical divisions serving a wide range of public needs. Each division is separately licensed and has its own unique admission criteria. Interns at NMBHI have the opportunity to choose three rotations out of the five divisions.
The Adult Psychiatric Division (APD) is an inpatient psychiatric hospital offering acute care to adult individuals. Adult psychiatric services are provided on six units, serving approximately 1000 admissions per year. The Forensic Division (FD) is a hospital-based setting that provides competency restoration services to individuals referred by District Courts across the state. The Center for Adolescent Relationship Exploration (CARE) is a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) that provides treatment for adolescent males ages 13-to 17 who have caused sexual harm and have a co-morbid mental health diagnosis. The Long-Term Care (LTC) division of the state hospital is the largest, restraint-free, nursing home facility in Northern New Mexico. Finally, the Community Based Services (CBS) division is the outpatient division of NMBHI and provides outpatient mental health services in San Miguel, Mora, and Guadalupe counties. They serve approximately 1100 clients. All divisions excluding CBS offer 24-hour care, 7 days per week. The entire NMBHI facility is accredited by the Joint Commission. APD, FD and CBS are accredited under the hospital manual, with CARE under the Behavioral manual and LTC under nursing care manual.
Interns will have the opportunity to gain experience in multiple areas of psychology which include, but are not limited to, individual and group psychotherapy, psychological testing, report writing, consultation and supervision. Interns not only work with clients but will also have the opportunity to interact closely with other disciplines such as psychiatrists, medical providers, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, dieticians, psychological technicians, and attorneys. Interns who complete an internship with NMBHI are expected to be well-rounded in the practice of psychology and leave with the skills necessary to treat and assess diverse populations as well as those who live with various mental health accommodations.
Interns will have the opportunity to provide psychotherapy among individuals and groups. Further, they provide consultation to residents, guardians, physicians, attorneys, and family members concerning the psychological dimensions of their patients. Interns may also have the opportunity to receive training that compliments their specialization. NMBHI provides rotations that offer experience in working with adults, adolescents, families, elderly, outpatient population and forensic population. Interns are given the opportunity to provide a variety of treatment modalities to help residents achieve their treatment goals. These include, but are not limited to, activities that are in consultation with treatment team members, as an individual therapist, or as a treatment team member within the unit milieu:
• group therapy
• experiential therapy
• recreational therapy
• family therapy
• cognitive behavioral therapy
• mindfulness training
• psychopharmacological therapy
• milieu therapy
• psychoeducation for the adolescent who has created sexual harm
• other physician ordered interventions, as appropriate
At NMBHI, interns will develop competencies in psychological assessment and clinical interventions among a diverse panel of patients. The training provided is designed to develop competencies in psychological assessment and diagnosis, psychological interventions, and forensic assessment. In the course of acquiring these competencies, interns will also develop sensitivity to issues of cultural diversity, awareness of professional ethics in the delivery of psychological and forensic services, and self-awareness as these relate to issues that affect professional functioning.
An internship with NMBHI prepares interns for doctoral-level independent practice in clinical psychology. Interns select and complete three of five available rotations. Each rotation provides a unique learning experience that enhances the intern’s clinical, diagnostic, and assessment skills and knowledge. For each rotation, interns participate in daily rounds and treatment team meetings, didactic trainings, individual and group supervision, as well as other tasks that are delegated by the supervising psychologist. The following are brief descriptions of the rotations that are available:
The NMBHI-Adult Psychiatric Division (APD) is an acute inpatient psychiatric setting owned and operated by the State of New Mexico. APD provides voluntary, involuntary, and court-ordered behavioral health treatment to individuals, ages 18 and older, suffering from a major mental illness that severely impairs their functioning, their ability to be successful in the community, and who present as an imminent danger to self and/or others. The governing body of the New Mexico Behavioral Institute assumes overall responsibility for APD’s operation.
The Center for Adolescent Relationship Exploration (CARE) unit is a 10-bed residential psychiatric treatment facility owned and operated by the State of New Mexico. It is licensed as a specialty residential treatment center (RTC). The CARE Unit is specifically designed to provide treatment to adolescent boys ages 13 to 17-1/2 years of age who have a history of sexually harmful behaviors and have been diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness, or a mental illness that has produced a history of disturbances in behavior, age-appropriate adaptive functioning, and psychological functioning. These adolescents have frequently attempted to cope with problems by engaging in antisocial and self-destructive behaviors that have limited their ability to function appropriately and safely in a less restrictive environment. The severity of their disturbances requires 24-hour supervision within a secured locked facility. The average length of stay is about 1 year. This rotation requires a separate fingerprinting and vetting by the Child Youth and Family Department, State of New Mexico.
This rotation provides experience working with older adult populations within the Long-Term Care (LTC) Division of NMBHI. The LTC Division supports residents with nursing home / medical needs but is unique in that it serves a much more psychiatrically complex and neurologically diverse population than typical nursing homes. Clinical psychology intern experiences will include learning to recognize and diagnose numerous forms of dementia, developing appropriate nonpharmaceutical interventions, understanding neuroimaging and laboratory results related to psychological diagnosis and intervention, bedside clinical interviewing, medical chart review, brief individual or group psychotherapy, report writing, contributing to treatment team plans, and psychological assessment including capacity assessment for the courts, occasional neuropsychological assessment, and diagnostic assessment of acute mental status changes, including delirium, stroke, brain injury, or complicated general medical conditions.
The goal of the NMBHI Community Based Services is to provide the highest quality of services in an outpatient setting in a three-county area. The services include: Mental Health Outpatient Services; Psychosocial Rehabilitation; Comprehensive Community Support Services; and Assisted Living Services, for people living with chronic mental illness. The mental health component provides an individualized, assertive and comprehensive community-based treatment. The focus is on rehabilitation and improving the quality of life to adults and families in need of mental health services.
The Forensic Division of NMBHI is a 116-licensed bed facility. The primary mission of the Forensic Division is to provide competency restoration services to individuals referred by District Courts across the state. Additional services include providing risk assessments to referring District Courts all pursuant to statutory mandates. The Forensic Division is made up of four inpatient psychiatric care units. The residential units are: Acute Care Unit (ACU); Continuing Care Unit (CCU); Women’s Unit; and Maximum-Security Unit (MSU). Individuals referred to the facility are charged with at least one felony-level offense, and in need of treatment to attain competency to proceed with adjudication. The physical environment is comparable to other areas of the hospital and consists of dormitory wings with patient rooms, large day room areas, and recreational courtyards. The Forensic Division differs from other areas of NMBHI, only in that it is surrounded by a perimeter fence for the purpose of maintaining security.
Built in 1889, NMBHI was originally called the Territorial Insane Asylum and then the New Mexico Hospital for the Insane. Due to the movement away from mental health stigma and prejudice, such derogatory language and assessment practices/perspectives have ceased and incited change, leading to the new name, New Mexico Behavior Health Institute. To this day, NMBHI continues to be referred to as the “State Psychiatric Hospital” because it is unique and one of its kind in New Mexico.
NMBHI is located in Las Vegas, New Mexico, The Land of Enchantment. Las Vegas offers friendly, local, and affordable living. Interns will be immersed in the rich, vibrant, and complex history of one of the first settlements in the American Southwest. They will have the opportunity to learn from a diverse community who pride themselves on cultural celebration and sustainability. This area offers a fascinating blend of cultures where Spanish, Native American, Mexican and American influences have co-mingled to create a rich and unique society. Las Vegas is home to more than 1000 buildings on the National Register for Historic Places. Million dollar renovations have been made along Old Town Plaza Park, the train depot station, and the nearby Castañeda Hotel, to name a few.
Interns will experience many small home-town shops, antiques, book stores, coffee shops, and community areas with Spanish, Victorian, and Territorial architecture. Las Vegas also has its historical drive-in movie theater (Fort Union Drive-In) which is still in operation. Extracurricular activities in this area include: Camping and fishing at Storrie Lake State Park; Gallinas River campgrounds; hiking and birdwatching at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge; and skiing on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Las Vegas also prides itself in higher education and is home to two school districts, Luna Community College, and New Mexico Highlands University. Just five minutes from Las Vegas in Montezuma, N.M. you will find natural hot springs and the Armand Hammer United World College (UWC-USA). This location was chosen because of its remarkable beauty, proximity to immense wilderness areas in Northern New Mexico, and an architecturally compelling site within a historic region of the United States.
Site Director: Mathias (Matt) Stricherz, EdD
Email address: Mathias.Stricherz@state.nm.us
Phone number: (505) 454-2118
Mailing address: 3695 Hot Springs Blvd., Las Vegas, NM 87701