By RUTH HEIDE Courier editor

ALAMOSA The San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group opened a crisis living room facility Mi Esperanza Wellness Center on Friday and is inviting the community to visit.    “We are a crisis team for the entire San Luis Valley population. That’s everybody ,” Chief Executive Officer Fernando Martinez said as he welcomed visitors to Mi Esperanza at 311 San Juan Avenue in downtown Alamosa.    Staff welcome community members to tour the facility, which was a former law office, Monday and Tuesday mornings , May 16 and 17.    “We want people to be very comfortable that they can just walk right in,” said San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group Chief Operating Officer Kristina Daniel.    Jennifer Silva, supervisor at the new center, added, “It is important that clients can come in here without an appointment . That’s something significant. They don’t have to go to the emergency room. They don’t have to wait for an appointment. They can come right in and get services.”    Whatever the crisis is at the time, case managers will be on hand to help, Silva added.    Mi Esperanza (Hope) Wellness Center provides a welcoming atmosphere from its initial living room entrance to a peaceful relaxation room and therapy rooms.    “We are very excited,” Daniel said.    Martinez and Daniel credited the Behavioral Health Group board with supporting this expansion. On hand for Friday’s open house were Board Members Louise Sanchez , Harry Larsen and Pat Stanford. Also serving on the board are Richard Pacheco, Jerry Gallegos, Laurie Rivera , Brenda Vialpando, Alonzo Payne and Marcella Garcia.    “The board gives us room to meet everybody’s needs,” Daniel said.    Martinez said capable staff members have been serving area residents in crisis for more than 25 years through mobile crisis teams going where the needs are, whether scenes of family conflict, suicide or school crises.    The Behavioral Health Group staff wanted to expand that service to a crisis living room, he explained, where people of the community, regardless of their financial standing, could come for services.  “That’s rich. That’s poor. That’s everybody,” he said.    Daniel said Mi Esperanza is a place where anyone can come and feel safe and supported.   “Anybody in our community can use it,” she said.