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RBC I It has been a few weeks since the horrific tragedy in Aurora, Colo., yet the reverberations of the event linger in our lives and our society. Here in Rio Blanco County, there has been an increase in people seeking crisis support since the event, with even more people wanting assistance but encumbered by old-fashioned stigma or lack of understanding of available resources. People are reacting to these traumatic events with fear about the future, fear that this will happen to either them or their families, fear that they could be capable of this type of violence against others or themselves due to a sense of hopelessness or lack of control.
As caring citizens, we are bound to ask ourselves what we can do as individuals to address mental health and wellness in ourselves and others. Suicide, substance abuse, behavioral and mental health issues do have solutions that can produce positive outcomes; it’s a matter of knowing what to do and who can help.
“We know the community and we are making our best efforts to preserve and protect the integrity of the community as a whole and the individual confidentialities,” says Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center vice president Tish Starbuck. “Our mission is to create access to quality mental health and substance abuse services, enhancing recovery and resilience in our community.”
As head of Colorado West’s mental health centers, and with family in the area, Starbuck is a frequent presence in the Rio Blanco offices. Another county local and mental health supporter is Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, chairman of the Colorado West Mental Health Center Board of Directors.
Their organization is Colorado’s leading provider of behavioral wellness and substance abuse therapy, having recently been identified by the state as number one in reducing symptom severity and in number of patients successfully completing treatment. With two offices in Rio Blanco County — in Meeker and Rangely — they have recently expanded services and staff to become even more involved with local partners. Individuals, couples, family and group therapy are offered by a highly trained and certified staff, as well as substance abuse counseling, 24/7 crisis response and school-based mental health services. Through Colorado West’s video TeleHealth Network, a team of psychiatrists is available to treat both adults and children. Additionally, case management services are often provided to help people get connected with available resources out there and Colorado West works closely with several different partners in both Meeker and Rangely.
“Confidentiality, convenience, cost — they are factors in seeking treatment and we are extremely sensitive to all those points” says program director Margot Robb, a 28-year veteran of mental health care with the last nine at Colorado West’s Meeker office. “We want the public to know that there is no shame anymore in raising or dealing with issues, whether it is depression, anxiety, relationship tensions, traumatic stress, suicide, substance abuse, whatever it may be. Help is available and treatment works, whether for you or a loved one. We believe life is meant to be lived in health and optimism.”
Saturday, Sept. 29 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and Colorado West will be partnering with Meeker Drugs, Pioneers Hospital, and local law enforcement at the Mountain Valley Bank Fall Festival to provide citizens a safe, non-polluting option to get rid of unused, unwanted or expired prescription or over-the-counter drugs. They will also be offering free memberships to a “health club for the mind,” a resource for all community members to recognize and participate in their own mental wellness.
If you or someone you know should need help with any mental health or substance abuse issue please contact either the Rangely office at 675-8411 or the Meeker office at 878-5112.