The Park County Mental Health Alliance is a new organization founded to promote a balanced, responsive continuum of behavioral and mental health services for Park County residents.
PCMHA was formed by a core group of mental health professionals and volunteers dedicated to creating a strong, multidisciplinary, multi-agency diverse group that can provide backing to advocate for improvements in county mental health services.
The PCMHA works in partnership with Rocky Mountain Rural Health and the Colorado Health Foundation. RMRH is acting as a fiscal agent for securing grants offered by CHF.
The board of directors is comprised of Patty Lucy, president, who is a Victim Advocate with the Park County Sheriff’s Office, Lynn Ramey, vice president, director of public health for Park County and Karen Quiring, secretary and treasurer, who will function as the group’s coordinator.
Other board members include Beth Hervey-Duren, private therapist, Juanita Kursevich, representing the Bailey area, Sheriff Fred Wegener, Maria Mitchell, director of Park County communications, Mary Pat Bowen, director of Victim Services and Paul Mattson, chief of South Park Ambulance.
PCMHA is currently holding monthly meetings at different locations around the county. Its last meeting was held Feb. 17 at the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District’s headquarters on Crow Hill in Bailey.
The PCMHA has developed various committees which will work on identifying current services in Park County: outreach, education, crisis response, identifying needed services and communications.
Mary Hoefler from the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health was a guest speaker. She detailed the Colorado Crisis Services’ help line that is available to all Colorado citizens for any mental health, substance use or emotional crisis needs.
The CCS was set up partially in response to the Aurora theater and Newtown, Conn. shootings. According to Hoefler, in 2012, one in 12 citizens needed some sort of behavioral health care and less than a third of those people get the needed help.
“And in our rural and frontier areas, there’s very little access [to mental health services],” Hoefler said.
Part of the emphasis of the service is on how to get people who need behavioral health care out of the emergency rooms and jails, where they don’t get the kind of attention and assessment they need.
According to the www.coloradocrisisservices.org website, “When you call Colorado Crisis Services, you will be immediately connected to a crisis counselor, a trained professional with a masters or doctoral degree, or a trained peer specialist who has overcome similar experiences. We offer translation services for non-English speakers, we engage in immediate problem-solving, and we always make follow-up calls to ensure you receive continued care.”
There are 11 walk-in crisis service centers and they are open 24/7 and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need. The CCS website has a map showing the locations and addresses of the centers.
The service is funded by a $25 million grant from the state’s general fund. Its phone number is 1-844-493-8255.
The PCMHA is collaborating with law enforcement, professionals and first responders in Park County to integrate the hotline into its culture.