More people accessing mental health services in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The number of people accessing behavioral health care services in New Mexico is growing, inching up almost 5 percent over a one-year period.

The Human Services Department released the data Monday, saying the increase stems partly from the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program to ensure more low-income people have coverage and access to everything from primary care doctors to psychologists.

New Mexico residents have flocked to Medicaid since eligibility was broadened in 2014. Now, more than 850,000 people — about 40 percent of the state’s population — are enrolled.

According to the latest data, more than 153,000 people used behavioral health services in 2015. That’s nearly double the number in 2014.

Human Services Secretary Brent Earnest says the latest figures indicate the growth curve is beginning to level out.

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