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REACH Pursues Mental Health Help for the Community

Rural Estes Alliance for Community Health Pursues Mental Health Pathways

The Rural Estes Alliance for Community Health (REACH) provides and supports community wide initiatives and education designed to improve the overall health and well-being of those in the Estes Valley. The current REACH committee members include: Estes Park Health, Salud Family Health Centers, UCHealth Timberline Medical Center, CO-SLAW, Estes Park School District, Estes Valley Crisis Advocates, Harmony Foundation, Ken McDonald, PSY.D., Larimer County Department of Health & Environment, Northern Colorado Health Partnership, SummitStone Health Partners, The Health District of Northern Larimer County and YMCA of the Rockies.

The REACH committee has identified three goals that the group is actively pursuing. The first goal of REACH is to strengthen community resources to improve rural health. The second, improve behavioral health pathways to ensure timely behavioral health care. Last, provide sustainable health care employment opportunities through educational training to become a Medical Assistant and/or a Certified Nursing Assistant.

To achieve these three goals, the group is diligently working to make sure the right people are at the table to provide resources and talent to achieve our goals. Every month a group of 14 agencies (and growing) gathers to share where resources are needed and who can fill the gaps. The group currently has two sub-committees: MA/CNA Education and Behavioral Health who meet additional times during the month.

The Behavior Health committee is tackling the issue of Opioid Addiction, Medication Take Back and Suicide Prevention. The committee helped Estes Park Health identify the requirements to be come a State approved Medication Take Back Station. The Medication Take Back Station is located at Estes Park Health and is open during regular Physician Clinic hours. On August 28, REACH held it’s first Overdose Awareness event in Performance Park. Currently the group is working together to establish mental health pathways to ensure consistent treatment between community providers, create a common Suicide Risk Assessment to be used by community providers and develop a Larimer County behavioral health resource list.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and the REACH committee would like to share some tips from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis”. The full resource guide is available on the front page of eph.org.

From NAMI: People who attempt suicide typically feel overwhelming emotional pain, frustration, loneliness, hopelessness, powerlessness, worthlessness, shame, guilt, rage or self-hatred. Any talk of suicide should always be taken seriously. The National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911. Common warning signs of suicide include:

  • Giving away personal possessions
  • Talking as if they’re saying goodbye
  • Taking steps to tie up loose ends
  • Making or changing a will
  • Stockpiling pills or a weapon
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Sudden changes in behavior, personality or mood
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and normal activities
  • Failed romantic relationship
  • History of suicide attempts or other self-harming behavior
  • History of family/friend suicide or attempts

Coming October 16, REACH partners will be hosting QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Suicide Prevention Training at the Estes Valley Library – Hondius Room – from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help. This class is free and open to the public. You can register at htt://bit.ly/estesqpr.