The Center for Mental Health was started in 1964 by a group of individuals with a vision to provide mental health services in rural western Colorado and was one of the first mental health clinics in a rural setting to become a Mental Health Center in the entire U.S. Dr. Lynn Hopple flew his own plane to Montrose from Denver bringing with him other service providers three days per month to bring mental health services to the Western Slope.
The Center was organized as a not for profit organization in 1966 with the legal name Midwestern Colorado Mental Health Clinic, Inc. Then in 1969 Midwestern combined with the Gunnison-Hinsdale Guidance Service, Inc. to become Midwestern Colorado Mental Health Center. In 1996, The Center adopted the doing business name “The Center for Mental Health” which is how we are known in our communities today.
From our humble beginnings and an initial $4,000 annual budget, the Center has grown to more than 110 staff members providing services through seven offices and eight outreach locations to people in the six counties of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel. With a budget of well over $8.2 million, the Center provides care to more than 6,400 people each year. In addition, the Center offers information resources and peer-based groups at no cost to nearly 11,000 people each year.
Recognizing the need to ensure good mental health for all, the Center continues to add programs and services with a focus on mental wellness, mental health integration, and recovery from substance use disorder.
The Center for Mental Health offers a vital safety net to some of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society – Medicaid beneficiaries, the uninsured, the indigent, children in foster care, older adults, and those in our criminal and juvenile justice systems. We serve anyone who needs us and we offer a sliding fee scale to all.
We get our funding from many different places. Through contract, we are the providers of Medicaid mental health services for the residents of the six-county area. In addition, we have contracts for specific services with the state, cities, counties, and departments of social services, nursing homes, hospitals, jails and businesses. As a nonprofit organization, we also rely on the collection of client fees and private insurance as wells as grants and donations from foundations, agencies, and corporations.
We are proud of the progress that we have made and the organization that we are becoming. Great strides are being made every day with mental health care. Mental illness is now more treatable than ever and it is very exciting to see people live in recovery. We look forward to being a part of the recovery journey in people’s lives for many years to come.