Sadly, Park County has not remained untouched by suicides by residents or visitors. Park County Mental Health Coalition wants readers to know there is hope.

Karen Quiring, along with members of the coalition, offers insight for residents in the county.

“Some of the issues we know of are that many people do not know what resources are available, for treatment options,” Quiring said.

“They don’t know what crisis response options are available and some people have expressed concern that treatment options are not locally available or known.

“Challenges are many. Having a coordinated crisis response has been difficult to achieve. Communicating about most treatment options has been difficult, due to frequent changes in the Public Mental Health system, and the availability of private treatment options are regulated by insurance companies.”

Quiring also addressed the issue of stigma, meaning that often people are ashamed to reach out for help or offer help related to suicide and mental health issues.

“There are myths about suicide and suicide intervention that pose a challenge, and educational opportunities to educate both crisis responders and the general  public is frequently difficult due to work schedules and availability,” Quiring added.

Medication can help for some situations, and an additional barrier that Quiring mentions is that there can be limited access to medication prescribers for specific mental health issues that impact suicide.

This county, per Quiring, does not have organized wellness services such as yoga, meditation, nutrition and exercise that are readily available and affordable in some urban areas.

Resources and hope

AspenPointe Mental Health has offices and services in both Bailey and Fairplay, and Colorado has a crisis line.

Additionally, there are numerous private mental health therapists in the Bailey and Fairplay areas.

Quiring says, “All areas of the county have law enforcement and first responders that respond to people who are in severe crisis. All the schools have mental health/suicide prevention programs in place.”

Quiring and the mental health coalition, consisting of a variety of individual agencies and community resources, want you to know, “There is hope. Things can be better, both personally and with the delivery system, and there are people that care.”

Colorado Crisis Services

Often a crisis does not happen neatly between business hours or exactly on your lunch break. The good news is that the Colorado Crisis Line is a resource available to you all day and all night, 24/7.

Phone calls to the crisis telephone line are confidential and there is also a chat online option as well as a text option. (This can be especially relevant to our rural county, as sometimes people can only get internet and no phone signal, or their text might work but not internet.)

To reach a live person via telephone, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255. To chat online or learn more about Colorado Crisis Services, visit the website at coloradocrisisservices.org.

When you call, chat or text CCS, you will be connected to a trained mental health professional who has a minimum of a master’s degree or a trained peer specialist who has gone through a similar experience.

What issues can you discuss?

“You can call about anything in your life that you feel you need help with or want to talk about. Common call topics include depression, substance use, grief and loss, self injury, suicidal thoughts, bullying, stress, parenting concerns, trauma, drugs and alcohol, relationship problems, family crisis, anxiety, domestic violence, homelessness, disability, concerns for a friend or family member, recovery support and resource questions,” per the CCS website.

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