Individual Mayors Proclaim May as Mental Health Awareness Month
FORT COLLINS, May 15, 2018 – Inspired by the national movement and local situation, Larimer County Commissioners officially proclaimed the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month. Mayors from Berthoud, Estes Park, Loveland, Fort Collins, Timnath and Windsor all followed suit with proclamations of their own.
“We’re very different communities, but [mental health] is really one of the threads that really ties us together,” says Estes Park Mayor Todd Jirsa. Mayor Jirsa joined his peers at Everyday Joe’s in Fort Collins to discuss mental health and the community issues that arise from the unfortunate stigma of mental illness and the lack of services for someone who is diagnosed.
Larimer County is experiencing unprecedented growth in mental health crises. Suicide has doubled in Larimer County since 2009, and we continue to have among the highest suicide rates in the nation. In 2016, eighty-three (83) people took their own lives in Larimer County. Sadly, the current mental health system in Larimer County, while it does provide some high quality treatment and services for the 1 in 5 residents who are struggling with a mental illness, does not meet the demand of people in need.
Larimer County mayors have agreed to help raise awareness around this unfortunate situation with the hope that solutions will be discussed and progress will soon be made. “We need to come together and work towards solutions on [mental illness],” stated Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell.
Towards that end, nationally recognized experts have guided local organizations and professionals to develop a cost-effective, viable plan to address our communities’ growing mental health challenge: a state-of-the-art regional mental health treatment facility paired with comprehensive services. This plan identifies the most critical gaps in mental health care, a continuum of care to fill these gaps, and a realistic plan to improve mental health services for all Larimer County residents.
This plan for long-term solutions is informed by a comprehensive assessment of Larimer County mental health needs and services, and builds a common framework for the many separate pieces to this complex community challenge. The plan’s Executive Summary can be accessed here.
Much more in the campaign to raise public awareness is planned for the weeks ahead. Those interested can follow the Mental Health Matters Larimer County Facebook page, or visit larimercountymentalhealth.info.