Mental Health Outlets In Mesa County & Who Can Help

Mental Health Outlets In Mesa County & Who Can Help

Mason Compton , Reporter

The suicide rate is increasing and is the highest it’s been since 2018 according to Mesa County Public Health Statistics, but some programs are working to bring this rate down. Colorado is offering free mental health care to you and anyone who may need it! In the past two years, Colorado and especially Mesa County have seen increased suicide rates and are now offering help with therapy sessions up to six times for free with liscensed therapist.

According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado started the “I Matter” program in 2021. This program offers six free mental health sessions with professional therapists and counselors who are part of the program, anywhere in Colorado. This program is available to youth 18 years of age or younger, and adults receive special services as well.

The program started due to an increase of suicide and suicide attempts within Colorado. According to Mesa County Public Health, Mesa County’s 2021 suicide rate was 33 sucide deaths per 100,000 people, over double the national average. Unfortunately, Colorado also outpaced the national average (14 suicide deaths per 100,000 people), seeing a rate of nine deaths higher in 2021.

When looking deeper into Mesa County Public Health statistics, we see that 74% of the people who took their lives did not have contact with a mental health professional while they were alive. 75% of those

who took their lives had alcohol involved at the time of their death typically being intoxicated before taking their life. The majority of teens who took their life also had consumed an excessive amount of alcohol beforehand.

After asking 30 students at Fruita, the question “Are you aware that Colorado including Mesa County offers free therapy sessions up to six times for free?”, 80% of the students said they weren’t aware of the program.
Junior Eliot Johnston says “I feel mental health is somewhat stressed and talked about within the school, but it without a doubt can be discussed more.” He also said,“It’s important to have an environment to talk to friends and peers about mental health if needed.” He said has this environment ,but what about those who don’t have such a friendly welcoming environment?

For those who feel they don’t have a safe environment around them to talk about mental health, there are people and places who are offering help. Caroline Toennis, a therapist and mental health advocate at Family Health west says “There are plenty of places to receive free mental health care visits here in Mesa County Here at Family Health West we offer free visits to discuss people’s mental health and what we can do to get them further help.”

Other than Family Health West there are many other mental health care providers offering free visits such as Mind Springs Health, St. Mary’s Hospital and Colorado Canyons Hospital. You can always speak to counselors at Fruita Monument High School to receive some help. If you or someone you know who is feeling low please reach out if none of these places are accessible during the duration you need immediate help please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

Suicide is never the best outcome. If you or someone you know are feeling depressed, lost, or confused, please reach out and get help. You are loved by more people than you know and you’ll never be judged for asking for help. Life is beautiful and we’ve all got so much to live for so please make sure you take ad

vantage of your resources and discuss this hard topic with peers, friends and family.