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Kim Floyde

CMH Crisis Walk-in Center in Montrose

Entities win grants to ramp up addiction treatment

By Media Coverage, News

Enhanced levels of substance use treatment are in the pipeline for Montrose, which experts hope will lead to lower addiction rates.

The Center for Mental Health and River Valley Family Health Center each recently received a cut of $4.6 million made available to rural communities through the state Office of Behavioral Health. The grant fund was established under a law passed last year to help increase resources for rural areas grappling with addiction. The local allocations are being disbursed through the managed service organization, West Slope Casa.

The Center received almost $515,000, which it will use to develop an intensive outpatient treatment program, and River Valley nabbed about $240,000 that will help it add a dedicated provider for medication assisted treatment for addiction.

“We were excited to be recipients,” said Amanda Jones, chief clinical officer for the Center for Mental Health.

The Center has two targets: the intensive outpatient treatment, based in Montrose and open to other substance use treatment providers for referrals, plus increasing professional training and credentialing of staff.

“The reason for our interest in wanting to expand this particular level of care is, one, that regionally, we do not have an active, open community referral for intensive outpatient treatment,” Jones said.

This type of programming is offered multiple times a week, with varying levels of treatment intervention, including individual and family therapy, psychiatric or medical support, and a strong group treatment format, plus wraparound services.

“It really is taking what is that next level of treatment intervention for people to provide a higher level of care, so that people are getting active and engaged treatment, and so we can hopefully intervene at that level and help people transition and continue to live in the community,” Jones said.

This type of treatment can prevent the need for higher-level care.

“For us, this really was the next level of care to build from outpatient, but also to have a level of substance use treatment that would help to hopefully prevent the need for longer-term residential treatment where people are needing to be outside of their homes and potentially disrupting their homes or other family members and community members,” Jones said.

Expanding the training and professional credentials of the Center’s workforce will bring another level of expertise to treatment locations, including the detox beds at the Center’s walk-in crisis clinic. More substance use treatment services would flow into the counties where care is provided, as a regional workforce is developed.

The grant allocation constitutes a two-year award, with the possibility of additional funding, and will be used to develop the Center’s framework for intensive outpatient treatment.

The other grant recipient, River Valley, is a federally qualified health clinic with offices in Olathe, Montrose and Delta. It has six providers who are able to write prescriptions for Suboxone, a medication used in medication assisted treatment. But all six of these providers also focus on primary care. The $240,000 River Valley received will be used to hire a provider just for medication assisted treatment, and a nurse. Some of the money also will be applied to the salary of the clinic’s part-time care coordinator.

“Substance abuse is still an issue,” River Valley CEO Jeremy Carroll said. “This grant allows us to allocate an entire medical provider to only the focus of substance use and medication assisted therapy.”

The nurse the clinic is adding will work closely with that provider. The nurse also will be able to visit clients’ homes for induction into medication assisted therapy.

There is a clear need for more substance abuse treatment options, Carroll and Jones said. Although addiction knows no county boundary — and according to the Office of Behavioral Health, more than 54,000 residents received treatment and detox services in fiscal year 2018-19 — the state recognized an acute need in rural areas, which have fewer resources.

“When you look at the needs assessment completed by River Valley, Montrose Memorial Hospital, Delta County Memorial Hospital and the Gunnison hospital, all four of those entities had mental health, substance abuse and opioid addiction in the top of their needs assessment,” Carroll said.

“I feel like there is very much an indicated need for this level of care. … Intensive outpatient programming is a recognized level of care of substance use treatment,” Jones said.

“We have not had that level of care for referral. By not having this level of care before, we’re very excited to be able to, quite frankly, see the impact this will bring to our community.”

Montrose Daily Press

Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.
Montrose Daily Press | March 29, 2020
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Managing Anxiety with COVID-19

By CMH Blog

These days, it seems impossible to go anywhere, listen to anything, or watch any shows without hearing about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Though I wasn’t particularly concerned about this virus at first, I have become increasingly anxious as wide-spread closures occur. Going to the grocery store has become an anxiety-producing event because of the empty shelves and the general air of panic. My rising anxiety has become intense enough that I have had to develop strategies for managing it. So as a parent, a community member, and a concerned citizen, I have found the following to be helpful:

  1. As much or as little as you need to, limit the time you spend taking in information about COVID-19 via the media or through contact with other people as you are able. Take note when the information becomes too much for you and stop for the day. (For me, this means that I can spend no more than fifteen minutes checking the latest updates from the county, the school district, or the Center for Disease Control before I have to get off social media because I can feel my anxiety levels rising.)
  2. Try to maintain a routine, preferably one as close to your normal routine as possible. Stay hydrated, eat at least two small meals with protein daily, exercise, and rest.
  3. Follow the suggested guidelines—it stresses me out to see neighborhood kids congregating together when we’ve been told to practice social distancing. Even though it’s hard to keep the kids from playing with their friends, it may be even more stressful for others to see that people aren’t following the rules. We want to work together to help everyone out.
  4. Be kind and considerate to others—it’s amazing what a little kindness does to ease everyone’s fears and anxiety. Really consider whether you need all that toilet paper. Maybe try using less instead of buying more.
  5. Spend your day engaged in activities that bring you joy. This could be horseback riding, doing yoga, cooking, or going for a walk while maintaining the social distancing guidelines. Don’t forget to smile and say hello to those you see.
  6. If you’re working from home, take breaks to check in with friends and family, play a game, watch fun videos, or meditate.
  7. Control your thoughts – focus on the positive. This could be a daily gratitude or mindfulness practice. Be aware your focus may be shorter than on “regular” days; that is to be expected.
  8. Call, Facetime, Skype, text or otherwise connect with people you care about.
  9. Laugh and be silly. Laughter creates endorphins for the body that help you feel good.
  10. Rely on your belief system. Remind yourself of what you believe. Focus on that because this too shall pass.

If each of us can manage our anxiety a little more, we may help others to manage theirs. I know how much it helps me to connect with people who are calm and steady during a situation like this. I hope that by managing my own anxiety, I can be that steadying presence for others.

If you find that you need someone to talk to, or are having trouble managing your own stress or anxiety, call new The Center Support Line at 970.252.6220 or call 970.252.3200 to ask about setting up an appointment via phone or video.

Written by Kimberly Behounek, Regional Director of Gunnison and Hinsdale Counties, The Center for Mental Health

Mental Health Services Available During COVID-19

By News

Coping with COVID-19

Mental health services available for patients, community

Scientists and mental health professionals generally agree: social isolation can trigger or exacerbate mental health problems. The American Psychological Association notes that while every case is different, there is evidence that links “perceived social isolation with adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function, and impaired immunity at every stage of life.”

Continue reading

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 | March 20, 2020
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Video counseling

CMH makes room for increased call volume

By Media Coverage, News

Moving appointments to video or phone

As even the most unfazed of citizens have recently found themselves hoarding toilet paper or at least stocking up on food supplies, perusing news articles about the science and spread of COVID-19, and second-guessing any newly developing cough, all while practicing social distancing and facing economic fallout, it is undeniably a time of increased anxiety for most of the world. Now more than ever, mental health professionals find themselves offering support to people with new, developing or existing needs.

Kirsten Mau, director of marketing and communications for the Center for Mental Health, says it has been a busy time for the center at a regional and local level. Kari Commeford director of the Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Program (GCSAPP), said that while her organization has not seen an uptick in calls, the county’s call center has received many inquiries from people stressed by their symptoms and the uncertainty of whether or not they have COVID-19 in the absence of definitive tests. Call center workers have worked to reassure people and encourage them to remain calm. The organizations are both working to remain open and available to all community members as needed, while also pivoting to comply with county-wide health and public safety restrictions on in-person meetings.
“Obviously, our first priority has been seeing clients,” explains Mau. And for those who find themselves in need of a little extra support right now, Same Day Access is for new clients who are not in crisis but want to get started with services.

The center’s CEO, Shelly Spalding, posted an update earlier this week, stating, “We have established an internal COVID-19 Response Team composed of leaders from various areas of our organization to interact effectively with state and local agencies across our six-county region.”

“Given the situation in Gunnison County and Crested Butte, we are moving all appointments to telephone or video so that we can continue to serve our clients even while our physical location is closed. We are outreaching our clients individually on this. We’d like to ensure the community knows how to access crisis services,” Spalding writes.

Commerford offers this advice as well: “It is an interesting time, and we have the opportunity to help shape how it impacts us, especially our kids. It is important to engage in positive experiences with our children – playing board games, playing outdoors, spending family time. Find ways to stay connected while keeping healthy and following the public health orders. Talk on the phone instead of texting. Most important unplug if you can, listening to and watching media right now can perpetuate stress and anxiety.”

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call the Crisis Line at (970) 252-6220, reach out to Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.

Crested Butte News
Written by Katherine Nettles
Crested Butte News | March 18, 2020
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Couple having conversation

Substance Use: A Closer Look

By CMH Blog

Understanding Substance Use – A Closer Look 

Why do we use substances such as alcohol and drugs? Drugs flood the brain with feel-good chemicals and turn off the parts of our brain that worry and stress. For many people, and in small doses, this substance use never becomes a problem. But for a lot people, substance use can be a big problem. The brain starts to rely on the drug to feel better; and sometimes we can’t feel good, or even okay, without having the drug in our system. This is when substance use becomes more than just use: it becomes a way of life.

Why does addiction happen?

There are two prevailing theories on addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD): the biological theory and the social-emotional theory.

Biological Theory
In the biological theory, substances such as drugs or alcohol interact with chemicals, called neurotransmitters, that are naturally produced by the human brain. These neurotransmitters are responsible for our emotions, our stress reactions, and ultimately, our survival. When we use a substance, it either triggers or imitates some of the neurotransmitters already in our brains. This is why drugs can seem so effective: because they work just like we do! This is also why drugs can be problematic: because sometimes they work more efficiently than we do, causing us to prefer them, or because they change the way our brains produce these chemicals, causing us to rely on them just to feel “normal.”

Treatment from this biological perspective consists of abstinence from substances, cognitive behavioral skills to change thoughts and behavior related to substance use, and sometimes medication to give the brain a boost in restoring those neurotransmitters.
For more detailed information on the biological model, check out the book Never Enough by Judith Grisel, Ph.D. or watch her videos on YouTube.

Social-Emotional Theory
The second major theory of addiction is the social-emotional theory. This theory explains that we use substances to change the way we feel in any given moment. Using substances to change how we feel is a long-standing human behavior that we’ve been doing for thousands of years through different methods. Much of the time addiction develops when unpleasant and uncomfortable situations persist: physical and emotional pain, isolation, poverty, interpersonal conflict, or pretty much any situation you can think of that you wouldn’t want to be in anymore.

Treatment from this social-emotional perspective consists of the methods mentioned above, plus learning how to manage emotions, dealing with painful memories and feelings, and building community and fulfillment.

For a wonderful description of this perspective, check out the TED Talk by Johann Hari, Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong.

How can I change my substance use?

There are as many versions of recovery as there are ways to use. For some people recovery means achieving sobriety to meet conditions set by someone else in their life — a loved one, an employer, a case worker, or a probation officer. For others, recovery means using substances that do less physical harm to them and reducing the risk of serious injury or death. And for some people, recovery means understanding what reasons led them to use in the first place, resolving those reasons, learning new skills, and moving forward in a new life. There is no wrong way to recover if it’s what you want to do. No matter how you want your substance use to be different, help is available if you want it (and sometimes if you don’t. We’re persistent). Peer support groups, treatment options, and the recovery community are ready to welcome you and help you answer your questions.

How can I help someone I care about?

Talk to them. Tell them you’re worried about them. Offer support, even if you don’t understand what they’re going through, and you think you would do something different if you were in their situation. Being there, loving and accepting them for who they are right this very moment, is the best thing you can do for your loved one. That’s not always possible, and that’s okay. Be honest with yourself about how you can show up for your loved one, and then be honest with them about it. If you need to care from a distance, there are other ways to support them. Send them this post! Share some resources you think they might be interested in. Do your own research so you can grow your understanding of their perspective.

Feel free to reach out to The Center at 970.252.3200, or drop by a local meeting if that’s more your speed. If you’re looking for more information before you reach out, you can also check out findtreatment.gov or nami.org.

People participating in group therapy

Substance Use Disorder 101

By CMH Blog

What is substance use disorder?

Substance use happens when we use things like alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs to help us cope with something in our lives.  When that use gets out of control, has a negative impact on other parts of your life, or becomes less effective, causing you to use more, that’s called substance use disorder.  Substance use disorder, often referred to as SUD or addiction, is common and treatable.

What does substance use treatment mean?

Many people think of rehabilitation, or rehab, when they hear the word “treatment,” but in reality, that is just one of many kinds of substance use treatments.  You might hear some of the following treatment terms: outpatient, intensive outpatient, community-based, partial hospitalization, inpatient, residential, rehab, co-occurring, evidence-based, and individualized.  Sounds like a lot, right?  Here’s a breakdown:

Outpatient—is a term used to describe services that take place at an office location.  That’s it!

Intensive outpatient—these services also take place at an office location, but for anywhere from 9-15 hours per week.

Community-based—these services occur in your community.  Yup, this one is straightforward too.

Partial hospitalization—these services usually take place at a structured environment during the day only. Participants typically go home at night.

Inpatient—these services take place in a structured, hospital environment, and participants spend the night there.  These programs are usually 3-30 days long.

Residential—these services take place in a structured environment that is less medical in nature than a hospital.  These programs are usually 1-6 months long.

Rehab—short for rehabilitation, this term usually refers to either inpatient or residential programs.

Co-occurring—these are services that involve both substance use and mental health treatments.  Co-occurring treatments are often where the “why we use” stuff comes in.

Evidence-based— this term means that the treatment approaches used by a program have been studied and proven to be effective in treating the identified problem.

Individualized— this term means that treatment goals and programs are designed to focus on the unique needs of each participant.

Whew!  That’s a lot of vocabulary.  So, what does The Center for Mental Health offer for substance use treatment?

The Center offers a range of services in the different communities we serve.  All of our offices offer individual counseling; most locations offer group counseling as well.  At the Montrose office, we offer a co-occurring treatment program with different tracks for different stages of recovery; we also offer individualized treatments made up of individual and group counseling for substance use, mental health, and co-occurring specific goals.  Our team uses evidence-based approaches to help our clients meet their unique goals. Finally, the recovery community offers many types of support, from peer groups to sober activities and more.

I have questions… a LOT of questions.

That’s great!  Questions are welcome.  Feel free to reach out to The Center at 970.252.3200, or drop by a local meeting if that’s more your speed.  The recovery community is waiting to welcome you.

If you’re looking for more information before you reach out, you can also check out findtreatment.gov or nami.org. Also, check out our Peer Support Programs as well.

 

Group of teenagers

Welcome to Rainbow Space

By CMH Blog

Welcome to Rainbow Space: A Safe, Supportive Place for LGBTQ+ Youth in Montrose

Rainbow Space: A Safe, Supportive Place for LGBTQ+ Youth in MontroseSo, you’ve been hearing around town about this Rainbow Space, but you find yourself thinking, “What in the world is that?” Rainbow Space is a safe zone for LGBTQ+ youth in middle and high school to hang out and support one another. It is hosted at the Youth Access Center (YAC) every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm. Our mission is to offer a safe, nonjudgmental, and visible space for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and allies in our community.

Each week, we provide a place for teens to come together with like-minded others for fun, food, games, support, community guest presentations, and more! At Rainbow Space, teens can find a supportive adult to talk to, learn more about LGBTQ+ topics in a friendly environment, and find ways to deal with the stress of being a teenager.

Now you find yourself thinking, “Does Montrose need this? Here? Really?”

The answer to this is yes, and here’s why. Research shows that when LGBTQ+ teens form a relationship with a supportive adult, their risk of suicide drops from 57% to 4%. Further, their reported life-satisfaction increases from 33% to 72%. But those are just a bunch of numbers. What are teens themselves saying about Rainbow Space? Check out what they think in their own words:

  • “This is my favorite part of the week; I look forward to every Wednesday so I can come here.”
  • “Before Rainbow Space, I had never been around other LGBTQ people my age.”
  • “I was nervous to come because I am very anxious around new people, but everyone here is so welcoming and supportive, I feel like I have already made new friends.”
  • “I feel safe and supported here.”
  • “I don’t have any friends.” — “I don’t ever want to hear you say that again, you have friends now, and it’s all of us.”

So yes, Rainbow Space is important. It is helping teens to stay alive, to feel connected and supported.  Now that you’re on board, how can you help support Rainbow Space?

  • Attend – If you are a middle schooler or high schooler in Montrose or the surrounding area, come out and join us. We meet every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm at the Youth Access Center (YAC, inside of CASA) at 147 N. Townsend Ave., Montrose.
  • Promote – Tell your friends, your kids, your kid’s friends: we want everyone in town to know about us!
  • Follow Us Online – We are on social media! Be sure to “like” and “follow” our pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat for the latest info.
  • Volunteer – We are always accepting new adult mentors. Please reach out to us at RainbowSpaceMontrose@Outlook.com to find out more about our volunteer process.
  • Donate – We are always accepting financial donations to support our group. If money isn’t your thing, we also accept donations of hot meals to be served at our community dinner. Please reach out to us at RainbowSpaceMontrose@Outlook.com if you would like to donate.
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.

Center for Mental Health, Crested Butte

A Valuable Community Resource

By Media Coverage, News

“There was no guilt, no shame, and that’s how mental health should be treated”

“We live in paradise. How could anyone feel depressed here?”

It’s a difficult and extremely personal headspace to understand, recalls 33-year local Ian Hatchett, as so many of us were drawn to this town for its beauty, recreation, culture and community. But living here can also be trying, and isolating if you don’t know who or where to turn. Hatchett experienced this difficulty firsthand, but also found a safe haven with the Center for Mental Health (CMH).

After facing back-to-back heart surgeries in 2018, “I gradually went into a very deep, dark depression,” said Hatchett. “Sometimes life can just stack up against you. It was new terrain for me. I didn’t really understand what was happening to me.”

Even though he had no prior history of depression, Hatchett recalls his struggle. “I didn’t know how to ask for help. I didn’t know how to reach out and felt incredible guilt. I had given up. I had never given up anything ever in my life. Suicide is really disproportionately prevalent in our community and I went very close.”

Fortunately, his friends recognized a need for help and took him to the Center for Mental Health in Gunnison. “We live in a village and my friends realized something was going on. I’m really lucky they were looking after me. They knew.”

Ian speaks highly of his experience with CMH, which now has a new location in Crested Butte. He says, “There’s an amazing level of compassion there and they help people who are in a really bad place. There was no guilt, no shame, and that’s how mental health should be treated.”

The Center for Mental Health provides behavioral health services through more than 10 facilities across the Western Slope and opened a Crested Butte location this summer in collaboration with Gunnison Valley Health.

Rural suicide rates are consistently higher than those in urban areas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We know we live in a rural community and we know there’s a stigma around mental health,” explained Kimberly Behounek, the Center for Mental Health’s regional director for Gunnison and Crested Butte. Unfortunately, Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the country and that rate is especially prevalent along the Western Slope, as reported by the Colorado Institute of Health.

This time of year can be particularly tough for people, explained CMH CEO Shelly Spaulding. “Part of the challenge is there are so many images through social media and TV in what the perfect holidays are supposed to look like,” she said. “And for so many people the perfect holiday is not their actual experience and that adds to any emotional turmoil they might be experiencing.” Financial stress at the end of the year, and shorter and darker winter days are also factors that can contribute, she said.

However, the new CMH Crested Butte location is a significant resource to providing the north end of the valley easier access to mental health care. CMH offers a number of mental health services, including peer support, substance use counseling, mental health therapy and medication management. According to Spaulding, the Crested Butte location has seen 223 new patients through November since opening this June.

CMH is currently working on increasing its staff and services to meet the needs of the community. “We are essentially looking to double our capacity for therapy starting in January,” said Behounek.

Behounek commends the professionalism and high skill level of the Crested Butte staff, which includes psychiatric nurse practitioner Laura Rogers, who worked previously at the Gunnison location. “There’s not another licensed nurse like her in the Crested Butte community,” said Behounek. “Having Laura in-person year-round has been tremendous for our community.”

Hatchett praises the team as well. “The people who work there are full of compassion and it’s a very welcoming place. I was connected with a brilliant therapist who was very smart and very funny. They made a really big effort to customize their therapeutic tools to fit me. There was a deep commitment from [my therapist] to get me up and keep going.”

Part-time Crested Butte resident and philanthropist Paul Uhl connected with the CMH after experiencing tragedy when his son Kyle died by suicide in October 2018. Uhl said being able to talk about it was not only therapeutic, but he was also motivated to help contribute to the opening of the Crested Butte location and help those in need of affordable mental health care.

During Kyle’s celebration of life, Uhl’s family and friends raised close to $12,000 for the CMH, specifically to help patients who can’t afford mental health care. Through fundraising, the CMH strives to provide services free of charge if a patient does not have health insurance.

Uhl also spearheads CMH’s Trek for Life, an annual fundraiser event in memory of Kyle to raise suicide awareness and prevention. The event follows one of Kyle’s favorite hikes from Crested Butte over West Maroon Pass. This year’s September event raised almost $20,000 for CMH and individuals in the Crested Butte community who don’t have insurance or cannot afford mental health care.

Uhl hopes to expand the 2020 Trek for Life into a two-day event, with one day for the hike and the second day being a community event in town. “We really want to reach out the Crested Butte community more effectively,” said Uhl. “We want to be able to help those individuals in the community here who really need it and would benefit from this.”

There were four suicides in Crested Butte in 2018, and the CMH hopes to avoid this tragedy affecting the community in the future. This year, the CMH also opened a Crisis Walk-In Center in Montrose, which provides urgent help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “In the last four months we’ve seen more than 100 people come over for services in the walk-in clinic,” said Spaulding. “If you have a friend or a loved one who you’re worried about, you can always reach out and talk to someone. I don’t want people to feel like they’re alone.”

“A lot of people come here to go skiing or hiking or biking and enjoy the outdoors, but there’s a chasm between the people who live and work here and those who come here to recreate,” said Uhl. “I hope we can build awareness and help people get through the difficult times. We have a long way to go but I’m encouraged by what’s been accomplished since the CMH has been open these past six months. The more we get people talking about it, I think we can help.”

“There’s a community resource right here for mental health,” Hatchett emphasized. “If you’ve got a problem with your car, you take it to the mechanic. If you’ve got a toothache, you go to the dentist. It shouldn’t be any different with mental health. I hope we as a community can keep our eyes open to friends showing signs of depression and withdrawal. This town really rallied around me. Because of them, I’m back and a contributing member of our beautiful community.”

Take care of one another. If you, a friend or loved one is in need of help, contact the Center for Mental Health by phone (970) 252-6220, or text “talk” to 38255 to connect with a national crisis counselor. The Center for Mental Health in Crested Butte at 214 Sixth St., Suite 4 is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed for lunch from 1 to 2 p.m.). The Montrose Crisis Walk-In Center provides urgent help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No insurance is needed. GVH’s peer support specialist program has also been expanded to 24-hour, seven days a week service.

Crested Butte News
Written by Kendra Walker
Crested Butte News | December 18, 2019
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Depression Help

CMH Helping Combat Depression and Anxiety Over The Holidays

By News, Press Release

The Center for Mental Health Committed to Helping Our Communities Combat Depression and Anxiety Over the Holidays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact
Jackie Brown-Griggs
303-300-2255

Montrose, Colorado — December 17, 2019 — With the holidays in full swing, The Center for Mental Health (CMH) wants to inform and remind the community of the local behavioral resources available. These resources are especially critical if someone on the Western Slope is feeling hopeless or having suicidal thoughts, or knows of someone who is. CMH recently expanded behavioral healthcare offerings across the region, so finding urgent mental health care is easier than ever before.

Although the holidays are promoted as a time for family and fun, not everyone feels festive. In fact, the holidays are a time when depression and sadness can really set in. “We recognize that this is the time of year when people can feel increasingly isolated and alone,” said Shelly J. Spalding, CEO of The Center for Mental Health. “We have expanded our care on the Western Slope in the effort to helping those who need counseling or crisis services this time of year.”

To better serve their six-county service area, CMH opened new locations in Telluride and Crested Butte, and a brand new Crisis Walk-In Center (CWC) in Montrose. Services have been expanded in several of CMH’s Western Slope locations to meet the needs of the community. “Our Crisis Walk-In Center is open every day, including Christmas. Anyone, of any age may walk in if they feel in danger of hurting themselves or others, or just can’t cope and don’t know where to turn” said Amanda Jones, Chief Clinical Officer. “When we opened our Crisis Walk-in Center in September, we had a number of local teens who needed support to cope with suicidal thoughts and other crises. We are a safe place, close to home, where they can be treated with their family during a difficult time,” said Jones.

Unfortunately, suicide has impacted almost everyone at some time in their life. 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 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. Unfortunately, Colorado’s Western Slope has higher suicide rates than Colorado’s more urban areas. This is consistent with the situation in rural communities across the country.

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. “We know that as a rural area, we need to be on higher alert to those who feel lost and alone,” added Spalding. “We have assembled 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, The Center’s 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 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:

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). People can also call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-800-493-TALK (8255) or text “TALK” to 38255 (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 provides help by phone, online, or in person:

Phone: If in crisis, please call our 24/7 confidential crisis line at 970.252.6220 or text TALK to 38255 to connect with a 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 Aid 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 www.centermh.org to learn more.

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