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Kim Floyde

The Center For Mental Health Visits State Capitol To Ask Legislators To Help Increase Access To Behavioral Healthcare

CMH Visits State Capitol for CBHC Annual Lobby Day

By | News, Press Release

The Center For Mental Health Visits State Capitol To Ask Legislators To Help Increase Access To Behavioral Healthcare

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact
Jackie Brown-Griggs
303-300-2255

Montrose, Colorado – January 15, 2020 – The Center for Mental Health will be at the State Capitol building on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 for Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC) annual Lobby Day at the Capitol. This signature day for CBHC highlights the importance of Colorado’s community behavioral health system which includes The Center for Mental Health. The Center for Mental Health provides critical behavioral health services to the residents of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. During meetings with legislators, The Center for Mental Health will discuss mental health and substance use disorder needs with the hope of gaining support for local efforts.

This year, the Lobby Day at the Capitol will be focusing on the severe need to strengthen the system’s workforce through increased reimbursement, salaries, and retention strategies such as student loan forgiveness.  Over the past 21 years, community provider inflationary increases have fallen so far behind that providers have lost more than 36.7% of their spending power as compared to the inflation rate across our state. Additionally, compared to state employee salary survey increases, community providers have lagged by 33.5%. As this issue has continued to worsen over the years, it has caused a shortage of behavioral health providers who serve our most vulnerable populations. It is crucial that efforts be taken to close this funding gap.

The Center for Mental Health will also be lobbying to increase opportunities to expand Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour course which teaches the signs and symptoms of someone in a behavioral health crisis. Proposed legislation would appropriate funding to the Colorado Department of Education to contract for a train-the-trainer program designed to increase behavioral health training opportunities for K-12 educators and faculty. The Center for Mental Health is very pleased that this legislation will be a top priority as the bill, SB20-001, was the first to be introduced in the Senate in 2020.

The Center for Mental Health looks forward to meeting with legislators during the first days of the 2020 legislative session to ensure that Coloradans in our service area can access excellent and affordable behavioral health care. To learn more about the legislative efforts, visit cbhc.org.

The Center for Mental Health is a nonprofit organization seeking to promote mental health and well-being. It provides behavioral healthcare services through more than ten facilities across 10,000 square miles serving the residents of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. Visit centermh.org to learn more.

Girls drinking coffee at Christmas

4 Things NOT to Say to Those Coping With Substance Use

By | CMH Blog

4 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Struggles with Substance Use Over the Holidays (and 4 Things to Say Instead)

The holidays are a challenging time for many of us. This is especially true for friends and family who may be struggling to overcome addictions or with the unhealthy use of cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol. Below are ways to start conversations this holiday season that are more productive and are less painful to those struggling with addictions.

Use the following suggestions to get those conversations off on the right foot.

1. Rather than asking, “Why haven’t you stopped that already?”
Try this instead: “I can see that you’re trying to make some changes. I’m happy for you!”

For many people, recovery from using a substance is a long journey. Whether it is cigarettes, alcohol, or heroin, it’s rarely easy to change. Substance use is more than just a behavior that we can choose to start or stop. Substances have an impact on the way our brains work, forcing us to change our brain chemistry AND our patterns of behavior when we stop using them. This isn’t easy! If you have a family member who is trying to change their substance use, this may be a big challenge for them, and they need your support. Recognizing that someone is making an effort can have a big impact.

2. Rather than saying, “That’s disgusting.”
Try this instead: “I appreciate that you’re trying to cut back. Let’s catch up some more inside when you have a minute.”

Some substances can be pretty unpleasant. For example, not everyone enjoys the aroma of cigarette smoke. The loved one who is using knows this and they’re not trying to be disrespectful. If being around it bothers you feel free to move away, but make sure your loved one understands that it’s not them you’re moving away from, it’s the substance.

Substance use can be perpetuated by feelings of shame. Telling someone they are gross, or that they smell, or that they are a failure for still using will not help them to change their use. In fact, it can make that use worse.

3. Rather than saying, “You know, my coworker’s nephew’s neighbor’s roommate tried hypnotism / acupuncture / medication / therapy / dancing naked under the full moon and it worked great for him. You should try it!”
Try this instead: “How can I support you?”

There are tons of different options for treating substance use. There are medical interventions, evidence-based therapy practices, alternative medicines, peer recovery programs, and more. Unlike those ugly holiday socks, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for substance use. What worked for your coworker’s nephew’s neighbor’s roommate might work for your family member, or it might not. You certainly don’t want them to feel like a failure if they have already tried that hypnotism/acupuncture/medication/therapy option and it didn’t work for them. The best thing you can do is offer support for your loved one. It’s best to offer suggestions only when asked.

4. Rather than saying, “Don’t come over until you’re off of that stuff.”
Try this instead: “I want you to know that I care about you. Want to get some coffee?”

Maybe you’re really not comfortable with any substance use, or you have a child with an allergy to cigarette smoke. There may be any number of other reasons that you’re not ready to open your home to your loved one who is still struggling. It is possible to set a clear boundary and still be supportive. If the boundary means spending time together outside of your home, then that’s fine! Just be sure to follow through. If you say you’re going to get some coffee, then get some coffee. Show your family member that even though you don’t accept their use of substances, you still accept them as a person.

Want more information? Visit findtreatment.gov and nami.org for more resources for family members. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to The Center for Mental Health to learn more about the treatments we offer at 970.252.3200 or visit our website at centermh.org.

The Center for Mental Health, Crested Butte

The Center for Mental Health Committed to Curbing Suicide on Western Slope

By | News, Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact
Jackie Brown-Griggs
303-300-2255

Montrose, Colorado — October 9, 2019 — As September’s Suicide Prevention Awareness month is behind us and we head into the holiday season, The Center for Mental Health (CMH) wants to continue to make the community aware of the local behavioral resources available. These are especially critical if someone is having suicidal thoughts, or knows of someone who is, and needs intervention or care along the Western Slope. CMH recently expanded mental and behavioral care offerings across the region, so finding a professional who will listen and help is easier than ever before.

“We recognize and know that suicide rates are increasing across our community. While there are several contributing factors, the one thing we can do is increase access to quality behavioral healthcare for those having suicidal thoughts and for family members who are concerned about loved ones,” said Shelly Spalding, CEO of The Center for Mental Health. “We need to communicate with our community about the warning signs and the ways we can help save lives.”

In 2019, CMH opened new locations in Telluride, Crested Butte, and in Montrose with the new Crisis Walk-In Center (CWC) that opened in September. It has expanded services in several of its Western Slope locations to meet the needs of the community. “The newly opened CWC is open all day, every day. Anyone, of any age can walk in if they feel in danger of hurting themselves or others,” said Amanda Jones, Chief Clinical Officer. “In our first few weeks we have already been able to support teens locally experiencing suicidal thoughts. We have given them a safe place, close to home, where they can be treated with their family during a difficult time,” said Jones.

Unfortunately, suicide affects everyone at some time. It maybe the loss of a close friend or family member, a member of the community, or even hearing about it on the news. At times, we may worry that someone we know and love might be in danger of hurting themselves. So, in addition to offering urgent care for those in crisis, CMH provides classes in Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention strategies such as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and Question Persuade and Refer (QPR) so people can recognize danger signs and have tools to help others.

“I wasn’t on anyone’s radar,” said Ian Hatchett of Crested Butte. “I was happy, engaged in my social circles, and employed in a career I loved as a mountain guide. Then, I experienced the perfect storm of personal issues that led me down a dangerous path. If it weren’t for the combination of my friends, my therapist, and The Center for Mental Health, I simply wouldn’t be here today. I will do anything in my power to share my experience in the hopes that I can make a difference in someone’s life.”

Hatchett isn’t alone, in fact, suicide rates nationally are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicides are the leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 and the fourth leading cause of death among adults 35 to 54 years old. In fact, there were more than twice as many suicides (47,173) in the United States as there were homicides (19,510) in 2018. In addition, the Western Slope mirrors the national average of rural suicide rates consistently being higher than those in urban areas.

According to the Colorado Institute of Health, Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, and that rate is especially prevalent in the state’s southwestern corner and the Western Slope, followed by a handful of eastern plains counties. Experts agree that the combination of geographical isolation, access to guns, limited or lack of mental health care, and the stigma around seeking help each contribute to those increasing suicide rates.

“We know that as a rural area, we need to be on higher alert to those who feel lost and alone. We have an esteemed staff of professionals who know what to look for and who understand how to treat someone who is feeling hopeless,” said Kimberly Behounek, Regional Director for Gunnison and Crested Butte.

“I had reached my lowest point and had given up,” added Hatchett. “Luckily, my therapist at CMH had the right suitcase of skills and gave me permission to forgive myself for giving up. As a nation, we need to demystify the process of mental healthcare and break the prejudices around it.” When Hatchett needed help, he traveled to CMH in Gunnison to get care. “They didn’t have anything available near me in Crested Butte at the time, but now CMH has an office right here.”

“We recognized that easier access to quality behavioral health is one fundamental and unique challenge that we could address.” said Spalding. “We still have a way to go, but we have made a lot of progress in making mental healthcare more accessible in our community by providing more local providers and new, convenient locations.”

The Center for Mental Health offers the following short list of risk factors associated with the possibility for suicidal behavior on their blog at centermh.org/blog:

RISK FACTORS FOR SUICIDE (suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

  • History of mental health issues
  • Alcohol and other substance use and abuse
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt(s) or family history of suicide
  • Loss of relationship(s), job, or financial loss
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation or hopelessness
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Local clusters of suicide or exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

Knowing the warning signs may help determine if you, a friend, or loved one is at risk for suicide. If so, please call The Center for Mental Health Crisis Line at 970.252.6220 (locally) or Colorado Crisis Services at 1-800-493-TALK (8255) (statewide).

SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS (suicidepreventionlifeline.org)

  • Expressing the desire to die or to kill themselves
  • Researching ways to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, in pain, or having no reason to live
  • Expressing concern about being a burden to others
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Increasing alcohol and substance use
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Extreme mood swings

The Center for Mental Health can help by phone, online, or in person.

Phone
If you are in crisis, please call our confidential crisis line at 970.252.6220 or text TALK to 38255 to connect with a national crisis counselor.

Online
Using CMH’s confidential, free, and quick self-screening tool, you can assess your mental health situation online.

In person
The Center for Mental Health has locations across the Western Slope — you can make an appointment or walk-in for help at centermh.org/locations.

Take a Mental Health First Class
View our calendar of events to find a training class near you.

Crisis Walk-In-Center
The Crisis Walk-in Center in Montrose provides urgent behavioral health to anyone in our region. If you think you or someone you know is in danger of hurting themselves, walk in 24-hours a day, 365 days a year for help. No insurance is needed.

The Center for Mental Health is a nonprofit organization seeking to promote mental health and well-being. It provides behavioral healthcare services through more than ten facilities across 10,000 square miles including Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel Counties.  Visit centermh.org to learn more.

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Mom soldier embracing little girl

Moral Injury

By | CMH Blog

The daughter of a U.S. Marine veteran didn’t understand why her father kept hiding his Honorable Discharge in a drawer. “He earned it on Guadalcanal” she said. “He’s a hero.” Her father had been known in the community for helping people in need for forty years. But with his daughter in the other room he whispered, “I’m a fake. Everybody thinks I’m good, but they don’t know what I did.”

The U.S. Marine veteran could be suffering from Moral Injury. Moral Injury occurs when a person acts in a way that they think is wrong, watches someone else commit wrongdoing, or fails to prevent a wrong.

Looking out the window at some unseen thing a thousand yards away, the marine remembered: “One night I was separated from my squad. To stay alive, I fired on anything that moved.” After pausing he continued, “There were other marines in the jungle.”

No evidence exists that he harmed anyone, friend or foe. But with a moral injury it isn’t evidence that matters, it is belief. The marine believed he had harmed or killed other marines. And he believed that doing so was unforgivable. Once home, he had tried to sweep away his guilt and shame by helping other people. Those he helped told him he was the nicest person they ever met. At times he almost believed them. Until the sun dipped, shadowing a bush like Guadalcanal. And he remembered the other marines in the jungle.

Common symptoms of moral injury are:

  • Reliving the event when something triggers the memory.
  • Experiencing disruptive feelings like guilt, shame, fear, anger, and anxiety.
  • Avoiding situations and places that resemble the person, place, or experience.
  • Having trust issues.
  • Substance abuse—which can either be long term, or occasional benders.

If someone you care about has these symptoms once a month or once a year, they may have a moral injury—even if they didn’t go to war: training accidents and illegal orders happen in times of peace. You don’t have to be a veteran either—law enforcement, first responders, first receivers, and corrections staff, are all at risk for moral injury every time they go to work.

Moral injuries hurt. Beliefs about bearing pain in silence, about suffering being part of atonement, and thinking that what someone experienced “wasn’t that bad” can cause the injured to deny treatment. They may think that they aren’t injured. But symptoms don’t lie. You don’t have to live with moral pain.

Life can get better, much better. With help, you or your loved one can learn how to respond to negative thoughts and emotions. You can learn what to do when painful or troubling memories disrupt the peace. There are ways of coping that don’t involve passing out in a puddle of vomit, having a screaming fight, or quitting your job.

Moral anguish disrupts a person’s narrative and blurs the sense of self. Healing starts with the injured exploring their beliefs about who they are, and what they believe about the world they live in. The Center for Mental Health is here to help.

The Center for Mental Health has several professionals on staff who have been specially trained in effective treatments for moral injury, as well as PTSD. Call us at 970.252.3200 to find a provider or email info@centermh.org and we will reach out to you directly.

Crisis Walk-In Center in Montrose

KJCT8 News: Mental health crisis walk-in center open in Montrose

By | Media Coverage, News

September 17, 2019 — After Rocky Mountain Health Plans took over the contract for crisis services statewide, with that came the closure of the 24 hour walk-in center at Mind Springs.

Now, there’s a new one in Montrose.

The new Crisis Walk-In Center will offer things like a 24-hour detox facility, and staffed mental health professionals to help anyone going through a mental crisis.

The new place has 11 beds and is the only facility of its kind between Denver and Salt Lake.

Staff at the center say they hope to take some demand off of hospital emergency rooms.

“I think that the ER’s are overrun with so many substance abuse issues going on right now, that if we can take some of those people and get them into our detox and give them the services that they need, you could definitely see a decrease in hospital admissions because of that,” said Director of Nursing and Emergency Services, Heather Thompson.

Crisis services will be available 24 hours a day, and seven days a week.

Courtesy of KJCT8 News | Back to Press Room

Watch TV footage on KJCT-8
Open House at CMH Crisis Walk-in Center in Montrose

CMH Announces Opening of Crisis Walk-In Center this Spring

By | News, Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact
Jackie Brown-Griggs
303-300-2255

Montrose, Colorado — March 29, 2019 — This spring, The Center for Mental Health (The Center or CMH) will open a state-of-the-art Crisis Walk-In Center in Montrose that will provide essential crisis behavioral health services to the six counties of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel. Currently, those services are not available or are available on a limited scale. The Center for Mental Health will work closely with these communities to ensure that their population has access to urgent behavioral healthcare they may need in the most appropriate and effective of settings. All services will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with walk-in availability. On Friday, March 29, a community open-house was held to give the community, first responders, providers and supporters an opportunity to tour the facility prior to opening.

Last year, The Center for Mental Health responded to nearly 3,500 crisis behavioral situations across the region, largely through its mobile crisis support services. These may include everything from a community member experiencing a severe depressive episode to an overdose to a suicide attempt. “Although our mobile services may have been effective in the treatment of those in need of mental health triage, a mobile service certainly cannot meet the current demand effectively,” said Shelly J. Spalding, Chief Executive Officer for The Center for Mental Health. “The Western Slope community is in dire need of a resource where those with behavioral health episodes can get the care they need, close to home.”

Approximately 10,000 square miles, the six-county region has limited access to urgent behavioral health services. Patients in need of mental health and substance-abuse emergency services, oftentimes travel hundreds of miles to Grand Junction, Durango, or Denver to access care. “In many cases, patients from our area travel four to six hours to a larger city to get the urgent care they need,” said Amanda Jones, Chief Clinical Officer. “That’s simply not acceptable and our citizens deserve better.” In addition to putting lives at risk, this distance makes it nearly impossible for families to visit and support their loved ones during recovery. A local facility will positively impact the lives of people seeking behavioral health services in the community and ensure people can access the critical support they need close to home.

The new Crisis Walk-In Center will provide both mental health and substance abuse services. An on-site, no-appointment-needed Walk-In Clinic will offer rapid response care and then provide patients outpatient services once the crisis is stabilized. “We expect to manage 96 percent of all regional behavioral health episodes in Montrose at the Crisis Walk-in Center,” added Spalding. “For anyone who must leave this region for inpatient care, the care we offer in Montrose will serve as pivotal step down from the hospitalization to living and recovering at home with familial and friend support.

The integrated planning team has worked diligently to ensure that the community will have access to this care when needed. “Our goal is to treat anyone who needs care regardless of their ability to pay,” said Kjersten Davis, Chairman of the Board for CMH. “When a person is faced with a behavioral health crisis, that isn’t the time to turn them away because they may not be able to pay. We are working closely with our third-party payers to make sure most insurance providers will support their care.”

Serving all ages, the new Crisis Walk-In Center will treat children and adolescents as well; currently, these services are nonexistent on the Western Slope. “The adolescent population who needs bed-based mental health or substance abuse care are typically sent to the Front Range. As you can well imagine, this creates a significant burden for parents, friends and extended family members to offer support, resulting in extra stress and trauma for everyone,” adds Jones who brings extensive knowledge of mental health care for the adolescent population.

Substance Abuse Withdrawal Management will be another key service provided. Currently, there are very limited bed-based detox services on the Western Slope. Individuals in need of detox services may access the Walk-In Clinic for an assessment. If the on-site medical providers determine that hospitalization isn’t warranted, outpatient detox therapies will be administered where family members and friends are a welcome part of the treatment process.

In addition to serving the overall community, the burden on law enforcement will be significantly reduced. The Crisis Walk-In Center will help reduce the guess work for first responders who are managing people experiencing behavioral health episodes so they can better determine where the patient should be transported. Currently, when first responders come across an individual exhibiting unusual behavior, one of the options is jail, which is not the calmest location when someone is in their most fragile and vulnerable condition. “The staff at The Center has taken great strides in bridging the gap in immediate care and response for our citizens,” said detective Phil Rosty of the Montrose Police Department. “We are currently partnering police officers across the region with mental health professionals to ensure we provide the best service to those in need. As first responders, this resource provides a specialized and valuable resource for our responding officers to utilize while helping those in crisis.”

The Crisis Walk-In Center will employ nearly 30 people; it will have 11-15 inpatient and observation beds, and can treat approximately 16 people at any given time. “After extensive due diligence, we discovered a need for a facility of this kind was dire,” said Kjersten Davis. “After we raised more than $3 million through public and private funding, we were able to create a place where our citizens can access quality mental health services available for people of all ages and walks of life, void of barriers, physical, cultural, or financial.”

The Center for Mental Health is a nonprofit organization seeking to promote mental health and well-being. It provides behavioral health services through sixteen facilities across 10,000 square miles including Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. Visit www.centermh.org to learn more.

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Gunnison Country Times | September 12, 2019

Media Coverage: Trek For Life to aid those who can’t afford mental health treatment

By | Media Coverage, News

Making care available to all

September 12, 2019 — Out of tragedy, a passion for helping others often is born.

Such is the case for the suicide prevention efforts of Crested Butte part-time resident Paul Uhl. Uhl lost his son, Kyle, to suicide less than a year ago. Kyle took his life in October 2018. He was only 27 years old.

But out of his pain, Uhl took action. He began to raise awareness of the problem in resort communities — and assist with fundraising — which helped lead to the opening of a mental health clinic in Crested Butte.

“People ask me, how can you find the strength after such a tragedy?” said Uhl. “I don’t know that I have the answer. It started with being curious about why people commit suicide. I began to learn about various risk factors… It energized me. This didn’t have to happen.”

But soon afterward, Uhl realized tackling suicide and implementing prevention strategies involved more than just opening a clinic. He wanted to make sure that those who are struggling the most have access to services.

Recognizing financial limitations of many community members, Uhl set out to continue the fundraising effort. This coming Saturday, Sept. 14, his idea to help others will take the next step — literally.

Uhl has planned and launched two events — Trek for Life and the Center for Mental Health fundraiser which follows.

A memorial hike will be held Saturday for those lost to suicide from the Maroon-Snowmass trailhead at Maroon Lake to the Schofield Park trailhead north of Crested Butte. The 10-mile hike will begin at 6:30 a.m., and once hikers reach Schofield, they can either bike, hike or drive the remaining 11.5 miles to the Elevation Hotel and Spa at the base of Mt. Crested Butte.

Elevate Bike Rentals will provide bikes at the trailhead.

Then, a Celebration of Life fundraiser will be held Saturday evening at the Elevation.

A buffet dinner will be served, along with live music by Crawford-based band Clifton Hanger and a live auction featuring Helly Hanson products and other items donated by area merchants.

Kimberly Behounek, Center for Mental Health’s regional director for Gunnison and Hinsdale counties, said her organization is humbled by Uhl’s efforts.

“The need for dollars to pay for treatment is real,” said Behounek. “We experience daily community members saying they want services but can not afford them. We are extremely grateful that Paul has identified the Center for Mental Health Crested Butte clinic as the recipient.”

Uhl said he’s not satisfied with just launching the inaugural event. He plans to make adjustments in the future as the fundraiser continues — and elevate education and outreach to prevent further suicides.

“Addressing risk factors to reduce suicides — that’s my motivation,” said Uhl. “Knowing the risk factors, we can prevent this. We’re already brainstorming about how to engage the community and have broader appeal. Let’s throw the 900-pound gorilla out on Elk Avenue.”

Gunnison Country Times
Chris Rourke is a Times staff writer and can be contacted at 970-641-1414 or chris.rourke@gunnisontimes.com
Gunnison Country Times | September 12, 2019
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CMH Crisis Walk-in Center in Montrose

CMH Completes the Final Stage in Offering Comprehensive Mental Health in Montrose

By | News, Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact
Jackie Brown-Griggs
303-300-2255

Montrose, Colorado — September 16, 2019 — The Center for Mental Health will open its state-of-the-art Crisis Walk-In Center (CWC) to the public on September 16th. Located in Montrose, it will provide essential crisis behavioral healthcare services to the six counties of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel.

Currently, those services are not available or available only on a limited scale. All crisis services will be available every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with walk-in availability.

“We have been working on funding, planning, building, and staffing this facility for two years at this point. We are thrilled to have crossed the finish line and be 100% ready to serve those in our community who need crisis behavioral services,” said Shelly J. Spalding, Chief Executive Officer. “The final details and approvals from those agencies overseeing our Crisis Walk-in Center gave us a bright, green light to open today.”

The new Crisis Walk-In Center is a critical resource on the Western Slope for those experiencing behavioral health crises. For example, last year, CMH responded to nearly 3,500 crisis situations across the region, largely through its mobile crisis support services. These may include everything from a community member experiencing a severe depressive episode to an overdose to a suicide attempt. “Although our mobile services were effective in the treatment of those in need of mental health triage, a mobile service certainly cannot meet the current demand effectively,” added Spalding. “The Western Slope community was in dire need of a resource offering urgent behavioral healthcare, close to home. Often these folks may end up in an emergency room, or even jail, before getting the treatment they really need. This facility will ensure people can get the right care, faster. This has the potential to save lives and get people into recovery more quickly and with less trauma.”

Approximately 10,000 square miles, the six-county region has limited access to urgent behavioral health services.

Clients in need of mental health and substance-abuse emergency services oftentimes travel hundreds of miles to Grand Junction, Durango, or Denver to access care. “In many cases, patients from our area travel four to six hours to get the urgent care they need,” said Amanda Jones, Chief Clinical Officer. “That’s simply not acceptable and our residents deserve better.” In addition to putting lives at risk, this distance makes it nearly impossible for families to visit and support their loved ones during recovery. The new facility will save lives in our community and promote recovery and healing by ensuring people can access the critical support they need close to home.

The CWC provides both mental health and substance abuse services. An on-site, no-appointment-needed Walk-In Clinic will offer rapid response care and then refer clients for outpatient services once the crisis is stabilized.  “We expect to manage 96 percent of all regional behavioral health episodes in Montrose at the CWC,” said Spalding. “For anyone who must leave this region for inpatient care elsewhere, the care we offer in Montrose will serve as a pivotal step from hospitalization to living and recovering at home with familial and friend support.

The integrated planning team has worked diligently to ensure that everyone in the community will have access to this care if needed. “Our goal is to treat anyone needing care regardless of their ability to pay,” said Kjersten Davis, President of the Board for The Center. “When a person is faced with a behavioral health crisis, that isn’t the time to turn them away because they may not be able to pay. We are working closely with our third-party payers to ensure most insurance providers will support their care.” This location will provide services to any one in our six-county region.  In addition, those from anywhere in the state will also be able to come to our facility in an emergency.

Serving all ages, the new Crisis Walk-In Center will treat children and adolescents as well; currently, these services are nonexistent on the Western Slope. Often, adolescents who need inpatient care are sent to the Front Range for evaluation and care. This creates a significant burden for parents, friends, and extended family members who want to offer support, resulting in extra stress and trauma for everyone involved.

Substance withdrawal management is also provided. Currently, there are limited bed-based detox services on the Western Slope. Individuals needing to detox safely may come to the CWC for assessment. If the on-site medical providers determine that hospitalization isn’t warranted, outpatient detox therapies will be administered on-site where family members and friends are a welcome part of the treatment process.

The opening of the Crisis Walk-In Center will help law enforcement and first responders by giving them a valuable local resource. Currently, when first responders come across an individual exhibiting unusual behavior, they often have to choose between going to the emergency department or jail. Neither may be the appropriate location when someone is in crisis. “The staff has taken great strides in bridging the gap in immediate care and response for our citizens,” said detective Phil Rosty of the Montrose Police Department. “We are currently partnering police officers across the region with mental health professionals to ensure we provide the best service to those in need. As first responders, this resource provides a specialized and valuable resource for our responding officers when helping those in crisis.”

The CWC employs about 30 people. It has crisis stabilization and observation beds and can treat approximately 14-16 people at any given time. “After extensive due diligence, we discovered a need for a facility of this kind was dire,” said Kjersten Davis. “After we raised more than $3 million through public and private funding, we were able to create a place where our citizens can access quality behavioral health services available for people of all ages and walks of life, void of barriers, physical, cultural, or financial. We are thankful that the final stage is complete.”

The Center for Mental Health is a nonprofit organization seeking to promote mental health and well-being. It provides behavioral healthcare services through more than ten facilities across 10,000 square miles including Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel Counties. Visit www.centermh.org to learn more.

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Attendees mingle before the STAT community presentation at the Montrose County Event Center on Thursday. (Emily Ayers, Montrose Daily Press)

Community orgs partner for school threat assessment

By | Media Coverage, News

September 13, 2019 — If addressing potential threats in schools seems daunting, there is now a standardized process for threat assessment that takes a community-oriented approach to helping students.

The Montrose County School District RE1-J, Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, The Center for Mental Health and the Montrose Police Department partnered to bring a presentation of the Salem-Keizer System of Assessing Student Threats to the community Thursday at the Montrose County Event Center.

“The program places an emphasis on whole family health,” said Laura Byard, regional director for The Center for Mental Health, in a release from Montrose County. “Ongoing assessments will help families and students engage with services, break down barriers and foster a collaborative effort for success.”

The program began with the creation of a Student Threat Assessment Team (STAT) consisting of professionals committed to finding a path to success for at-risk students.

The program was presented by John Van Dreal, a school psychologist and director of security, safety, and risk management for the Salem-Keizer School District in Oregon. Van Dreal covered the program background, basic principles and walked attendees through an example threat assessment case with audience questions at the end.

School District Director of Safety and Security James Pavlich opened the presentation saying that it had been a successful week for the participating organizations in Montrose.

“For the last four days we have trained 140 people,” said Pavlich. “They trained on Level I and Level II threat assessment tactics. We are excited about how we can support youth and families in our community.”

The training taught team members how to present an investigation to STAT. It starts from the ground up with team members on the district level alerting the STAT team if any behavioral issues arise. The next step is to gather information for the case and to establish a plan to get at-risk students on track for success.

Van Dreal emphasized that early prevention is at the core of the program. He said that the goal is to stop a students’ trajectory and to turn them around.

“We don’t profile potential [at-risk students],” said Van Dreal. “We look at what level of behavior and activity they are exhibiting and then determine interventions that are designed to address the concern.”

During that assessment process, Van Dreal said that teams will often pull resources from community experts and agencies that serve the youth in the community. He said this provides more perspectives when handling different cases. A diverse skill set and perspective is one of the reasons why the police department is part of the planning process as well.

“Police are natural investigators, and can help share that responsibility,” said Van Dreal. “There is safety in numbers and a balancing of moods and skill sets [when working together]. It’s not just one person making a decision.”

In a release from Montrose County, Cmdr. Matt Smith of the Montrose Police Department said that, “The most exciting aspects of this model for law enforcement are the front-end management of potential risks, and the supervision of those cases subsequent to their discovery. [The system] seeks to foster collaboration between community stakeholders, which is often lacking when addressing threats in our community.”

Another basic principle of the model is the type of language used by professionals and the public surrounding at-risk students.

“We want to use careful language when we refer to youth,” said Van Dreal. “Instead of labeling someone as a ‘violent student’ we need to change that so we are describing the child’s behavior. Instead we could say: he is in a situation that poses a risk for violence.”

To support more careful language, the threat assessment system looks at an aggression continuum by Eric Johnson, Ph.D. The continuum helps professionals determine whether an aggression is reactive or targeted. Threat assessment specifically serves to prevent targeted acts of aggression.

“Most of the interactions happening at a school level are reactive forms of aggression,” said Van Dreal. He explained this as children reacting to being told to do homework or go to detention.

“You have to look at the context of a situation and analyze the facts to determine whether someone plans on attacking,” said Van Dreal. “[Ask yourself] does the behavior meet the threat?”

Van Dreal used an example of a cat being backed into a corner. The cat will claw and hiss and bite because it feels threatened. Similarly, if a youth feels backed into a corner they will react. They will threaten, and they will say aggressive things out of anger. He said that it’s the STATS job to ask the question “does this person ‘pose’ a threat,” not “did the person ‘make’ a threat.”

One of the management strategies that Van Dreal presented is to increase the number of inhibitors present in a youth’s life. He said inhibitors are aspects of life such as employment, finances, health, or looking to the future.

“Often times these children don’t have these inhibitors or those things that make their lives meaningful,” said Van Dreal. “Our job is to put those inhibitors back into their life to nudge them on the right path.”

Van Dreal said that simply asking kids, “how can I help you with that,” makes a huge impact. He said most at-risk youth are missing a pro-social connection in their life that would make all the difference.

Van Dreal ended his presentation by reaffirming the importance of looking at the whole student and not vilifying them.

This approach to risk assessment can have a positive impact on communities because, as Van Dreal said, it helps take away the fear aspect that can interfere with the success of students. This community-approach model helps to increase the physical and psychological sense of safety in a community when it is known that potential risks are being addressed.

“I hope I’ve conveyed that we are pro-student and pro-safety,” said Van Dreal. “We want to provide respect and support [for students] to be able to do the right thing and to become good people.”

 

Montrose Daily Press

Emily Ayers is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.  You can reach her at emilya@montrosepress.com
Montrose Daily Press | September 13, 2019
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The Center for Mental Health, Telluride

The Center for Mental Health Expands to New Telluride Location

By | News, Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact
Jackie Brown-Griggs
303-300-2255

Telluride, Colorado — August 29, 2019 — Due to increasing behavioral healthcare needs in the Telluride community, The Center for Mental Health (CMH) has moved to a new location downtown to better serve the community. A community open house is scheduled for Thursday, August 29th from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. where the community can come to meet clinicians and learn more about the services offered.  Comments from CMH leadership are scheduled for 2 p.m.

Currently, comprehensive behavioral health services are limited based on the needs of the population. “We understand the need for these services given the research we have done in the communities we serve,” said Shelly J. Spalding, CEO of The Center for Mental Health. “We are fully anticipating that we will continue to work with the mental health professionals already located in Telluride. This will simply offer the community more and expanded options.”

Staffed with certified behavioral health professionals, the Telluride location  will offer a convenient, local resource for mental and behavioral healthcare services such as comprehensive mental-health assessments, medication management, family and individual therapy, substance use and abuse treatment, support groups, suicide  prevention as well as grief, depression, and anxiety counseling. “Our mountain communities need and deserve high-quality behavioral health services close to home,” added Laura Byard, CMH’s regional director who oversees operations in Telluride.  “Thankfully the taboo around mental healthcare is decreasing and people are seeking help. Our goal is to help our community learn about behavioral health and get the help they need to live life in Telluride to the fullest.”

The Western Slope, an area of approximately 10,000 square miles, has had limited access to behavioral health services, but CMH is making strides in filling the void.

The new Telluride location  will offer appointments during regular business hours, as well as walk-in times when new clients can come in to get started on treatment. “Our goal is to continue to be part of the Telluride community and to increase our presence and the services we offer,” added Spalding. In the event someone has a mental health emergency crisis or needs short-term inpatient care, they will be able to get services from the new Crisis Walk-In Center, opening to the public in mid-September. The Crisis Walk-In Center, located in Montrose, will offer detox services, walk-in care, and crisis stabilization as well as inpatient care, if needed.

The Center for Mental Health is a nonprofit organization seeking to promote mental health and well-being. It provides behavioral health services across 10,000 square miles including Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. The Center for Mental Health accepts Medicare, Medicaid, most insurance, and offers a sliding fee schedule based on income. Visit www.centermh.org to learn more.

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