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RBC | The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes September as National Recovery Month, which celebrates the successes of those in recovery from mental health problems, including substance use disorders. The Health Partnership Serving Northwest Colorado supports the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover. Along with several educational events this month, this is part one of a four-part wellness series to explore a few different ways to work on your own mental, emotional, and behavioral health.

Across a lifetime, one in two people experience a mental disorder that affects their thinking, emotions, or behavior, and impacts their ability to work (or go to school), carry out daily activities, and engage in satisfying relationships. Yes, you read that correctly—half of our population struggles with mental health at some point in their lives, whether it be anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, substance use disorders, or a co-occurrence of these disorders. While self-help strategies should not take the place of professional help (especially in crisis situations), they can be a valuable tool for people who are already managing recovery, or for those looking for new ways to find wellness in their everyday lives.


Did you know that loneliness poses as great a health risk as either smoking cigarettes or obesity? Social isolation can be detrimental to your physical health, leading to shortened lifespans, and it can also put you at greater risk for mental health problems. Listed below are some ways to get involved in your community, meet new people, and explore new interests.

Love: Be a Volunteer

While it’s a great way to earn “good citizen” points, volunteering is also one of the most powerful self-help strategies around. Initially, some volunteers fear that the added obligation will make them feel more stressed, but research shows that finding the right place to volunteer has the opposite effect: lowering anxiety and depression, providing a sense of purpose, and supporting a sense of optimism. Here are two Rio Blanco organizations that are always glad to have more volunteers:

Horizons Specialized Services: Contact through or call Sarah Grimes at 970-878-3196.

ERBM Recreation & Parks District: Visit or call 970-878-3403.

Laugh: Make It A Daily Habit

So simple, and yet so easy to forget to add in to your daily routine. Research has proven the powerful effect of laughter on your mood, energy, mental focus, creativity and ability to problem solve. Even better—laughter can be a great way to form new friendships and nurture old ones. Get yourself on a daily cat video routine. Download an app that tells you jokes. Or go vintage and read some comics!

Connect: Discover Interest Groups or a Sports League

As we grow older, work and chores tend to take up more of our time, and we often forget the incredible value of exploring hobbies and the simple joy of play. Join a book club. Discover geocaching with a friend. Become the town cribbage champion. Just go play.   

Western Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation & Park District: Visit to find craft classes, day trips, and more.

Eastern Rio Blanco Recreation & Park District: Visit to find dance classes, gardening workshops, sports leagues, day trips, and community events.

CNCC Community Classes:

There are many paths to wellness and recovery. Stay tuned during the next three weeks to learn about feeding your body for your mental health, exercise, and the power of a good night’s sleep.   

To celebrate September as Recovery Month, view our full calendar of events at!


By Sarah Valentino | Special to the Herald Times