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Mental Health

As Demand for Mental Health Care Spikes, Budget Ax Set to Strike

Feb 9, 2021
Scott Franz / Capitol Coverage

When the pandemic hit, health officials in Montana’s Beaverhead County had barely begun to fill a hole left by the 2017 closure of the local public assistance office, mental health clinic, chemical dependency center and job placement office after the state’s last budget shortfall.

Photo by Pelle Martin on Unsplash

Back in 2019, licensed clinical social worker and therapist Kathleen Callahan was approached by Lindze Letherman and Quinn Gallagher about starting a mental health support group for hospitality and restaurant workers.

Letherman and Gallagher both work at Hooch, in downtown Aspen, and offered the space as a meeting place for local service industry workers to talk about their unique challenges and support each other. Since the pandemic hit, the group “Hospitality Matters,” hasn’t been meeting in-person, but they’ve continued their meet-ups virtually.

Kim Zimmer / Aspen School District

For many of us, the ongoing pandemic has impacted our mental health in surprising ways, and this includes young people.

In the latest conversation from our “High Risk At High Altitude" series, Aspen Public Radio talked with local behavioral intervention specialist Sonja Linman about what she’s learned from her work with local kids and their families.

Jasperdo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Even before the pandemic effectively scuttled human interaction, city officials in Rifle say they noticed that neighbors just weren’t being that neighborly anymore. People were looking at their phones instead of saying hello to each other on the street; COVID-19 only made things worse.

“Many people are even scared to look at you like you’re gonna get the cooties if your eyes meet, and I can’t stand it. I don’t want to live in that kind of world,” said Rifle City Manager Scott Hahn.

Screenshot / Garfield County Credible Mind PRO

Garfield County announced a new, free online mental health resource last week to help those struggling during the COVID-19 crisis. CredibleMindPRO is a website that provides tools, assessments and local mental health information through articles, podcasts and videos. 

CreativeCommons

Recent orders from Gov. Jared Polis have shut down bars and restaurants and ski mountains in Colorado, schools are closing and health officials are encouraging people to stay home as much as possible. Many Roaring Fork Valley residents may be feeling anxiety and stress during this time of COVID-19.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

 

Colorado consistently ranks in the top 10 states with the highest suicide rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the problem is particularly bad in the Roaring Fork Valley, say mental health providers. 

That’s why about 20 people gathered at the Glenwood Springs Library in January to learn how to help others who might be dealing with a panic attack or considering suicide.  

 

Rural Health Professions Action Plan

Health care costs and mental health are two areas of concern for Coloradans. That’s according to the Colorado Health Institute’s Health Access Survey results, released last week. 

35% of residents in the I-70 mountain corridor, which includes Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin counties, said they received a medical bill for services they thought insurance would cover, the highest in the state. 22% of residents in the region said they had problems paying medical bills in the last year. 

courtesy photo

In resort communities, the pressure to be, or, at least appear, happy can make some people less likely to talk about feeling depressed or lonely.  Therapist and author Lori Gottlieb encourages people to be honest about the fact that life’s not perfect.

Her new book “Maybe You Should Talk To Someone” details her experiences working with four of her patients.

Episode Two - Body and Mind

May 14, 2019

Today we turn to sex, drugs and mental health. Worldwide, sexually-transmitted diseases are on the rise. Many cultures don’t discuss sex in public and debates are ongoing about teaching reproductive health. When it comes to giving birth, mothers find varying degrees of support during prenatal check-ins, and many receive no support at all once the baby has arrived.

 

 

Air Time - Dec. 19, 2018

Dec 19, 2018

  This week, Duane Sinning, Division Director for Plant Industries at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, on the legalization of hemp nationwide, and veteran Stacy Bare talks about how project, Adventure Not War caused him to reflect on his relationship to the outdoors, and to confront trauma in his own life.

Air Time - Dec. 12, 2018

Dec 12, 2018

  This is Air Time, extended conversations with interesting people.

Ross Brooks is the CEO of Mountain Family Health Centers and he explains how their non-profit exists to make sure people have access to affordable, integrated, primary care. They serve over 19,000 people in our community. 

Non-Profit in the Spotlight: A Way Out, Week 3

Jun 19, 2017

A Way Out sees a rise in both mental illness and substance abuse. They provide support throughout a person's entire recovery process. A client of A Way Out, shares his powerful story.

Spotlight Health 2017, Episode 3

May 16, 2017

This week we talk to Dixon Chibanda, a psychiatrist and researcher at the University of Zimbabwe.  He focuses on community mental health and developed the "Friendship Bench" community mental health intervention.  It's now been scaled up to over 70 primary care clinics in Zimbabwe.  

Mental health summit address funding shortfalls

Apr 10, 2017
courtesy photo

 Pitkin County officials are leading a two-day charge this week to address mental health services throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

Mental health funding strategy in the works

Apr 2, 2017
courtesy photo

Next week, key players providing public health in the valley are convening to address funding for mental health services.

Mind Springs Health

West Springs Hospital, in Grand Junction, is the only psychiatric hospital between Denver and Salt Lake City. It has 32 beds and wants 64.

Sole Lowe is the Buddy Program's Community Program Director and is based out of the Third Street Center offices in Carbondale. She joined the Buddy Program team in 2002 and shares the history and evolution of the mentoring non-profit over the years. 

More information about the Buddy Program and how you can get involved at www.BuddyProgram.org

Mountain Edition - August 27th, 2015

Aug 27, 2015

Good afternoon, it’s Mountain Edition.

Will Carbondale get a new City Market? The development proposal is laid out at a packed public meeting.

Changes are in the works for an overcrowded midvalley intersection.

The Aspen Skiing Company is hoping to attract visitors from countries where more people are spending money on winter sports, like China.

The number of hospital beds for the mentally ill is dismal, especially on the Western Slope.

A Denver-based musician known for his contemplative folk songs visits Aspen.

pitkincounty.com

The situation is dismal in Colorado for mentally ill people who need to be hospitalized. As reported this week, a new analysis from the Colorado Department of Human Services shows the state has a significant shortage of hospital beds for this group. In Aspen, some end up in the jail and are taken to the nearest hospital - in Grand Junction - when a bed opens. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.

Marci Krivonen

An effort to make Aspen a “City of Wellbeing” is underway. The initiative is in its beginning stages, but would connect community agencies, organizations and businesses to fill gaps in mental and physical health in the valley. Local resident Gina Murdock is spearheading the idea.

"We have a lot of healthy, fit people. But on the other side, we have one of the highest suicide rates in our county, per capita. So, for me, that’s a red flag. It’s one of the reasons I’m leading this."

Facebook/Aspen Hope Center

The Aspen Hope Center turns five on June 1st. The nonprofit serves those in emotional crisis with most clients either dealing with mental health problems or substance abuse. Last year, the organization made headlines as it worked to tackle the problem of suicide after a cluster of deaths happened in a matter of days. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

The organization started in 2010 after a study showed the Roaring Fork Valley needed more mental health services. Aspen resident Joe Disalvo already knew that.

aspenpitkin.com

Last year the Aspen Police Department saw its highest number of calls for service in a decade. The department recently released its crime statistics for 2014. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with Police Chief Richard Pryor.

To view the full list of crime statistics for 2014, click here.

Meghan Hurley is the Mental Health Therapist at River Bridge Regional Center. She discuses her work with survivors of child abuse and how talk therapy can be the best method for healing. And Kerry Ach, the Community Outreach Coordinator, give details about Imagine 3, the organization's annual fundraiser on April 4th. 

Learn more about River Bridge at www.RiverBridgeRC.org, and Imagine 3 HERE

Hope Center Unveils “Erase the Stigma” Campaign

Nov 18, 2014
Elise Thatcher

A suicide prevention organization is unveiling a new campaign tonight. The Hope Center, now based in Basalt, is also hosting an expert on healing communities.  Michelle Muething is Executive Director of the small nonprofit, which offers a hotline and counseling for people with suicidal thoughts. Muething says the new effort is called the "Erase the Stigma" campaign, and it’s based on feedback gathered since last spring.

Logan Hood is the Executive Director of RESPONSE. She says sexual assault and domestic violence is far  too common - even in the Roaring Fork Valley. Hood discusses issues in the valley, challenges the organization faces, and how communities can rally together for no-tolerance. 

Learn more about RESPONSE at www.ResponseHelps.org, or call the 24-hour support and crisis hotline at 925-SAFE. 

Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners

Mental illness is a major issue in the Roaring Fork Valley, and around Colorado. As part of his administration’s plan to help more people get help for untreated illness, Governor John Hickenlooper announced a new statewide mental health hotline last month. Bev Marquez is the CEO of Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, the organization running that new hotline. Marquez talks with Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher about the response so far—and whether residents in the Roaring Fork Valley should call the statewide hotline or a local hotline first.

    

Creating Community Solutions Colorado

 

 The Roaring Fork Valley is part of a national effort to tackle mental health problems. Locals met with state mental health leaders this weekend to talk about what the key issues are here. The goal is to help figure out the best way to solve them. 

Seek Help...Please

Feb 4, 2014
Aspen Times

The suicide Sunday of Aspen Times Arts Editor Stewart Oksenhorn has emotionally devastated the paper’s newsroom.  Yesterday, the Aspen Times staff closed the offices for a time to grieve and meet with a counselor as Oksenhorn’s colleagues processed the loss.  APR's Roger Adams reports.


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