If you think you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health condition, there are plenty of people ready to help you. Please contact any of these resources for help navigating the mental health system.
· Aurora Mental Health Center: Provides a wide range of mental health and wellness services to Aurora residents. Servicio en Espanol. www.aumhc.org, (303) 617-2300
· Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health Network: Provides mental health and substance abuse services, marital counseling and psychiatry. www.admhn.org, (303) 730-8858, or for emergencies (303) 730-3303
· Metro Crisis Services: a 24/7 fully staffed crisis hotline responding to mental health concerns throughout the Denver metro area. www.metrocrisisservices.org, (888) 885-1222
· Mental Health America of Colorado: Pro Bono mental health counseling, (720) 208-2238
Did you know?
· ONE IN FOUR Americans has a behavioral health disorder, whether mental health or substance use related.
· 6% of people have a "severe" mental health disorder.
· 1.5 million Coloradans need behavioral health care each year.
· Colorado is 34th in the country in spending on mental health ($64 per capita).
· Colorado has the 6th highest suicide rate in the nation, almost 40% higher than national average.
· 90% of people who die as a result of suicide have a diagnosable mental health disorder.
· There was an estimated 90,000 emergency room visits for mental health in 2005 and a cost of approximately $90 million.
· Mental illness is the single leading cause of disability in the United States, resulting in 217 million days of work lost annually.
· 47% of Colorado's 16,203 homeless population have a serious mental illness or chronic substance abuse issue.
· Colorado ranks 48th out of 50 states in the number of combined public and private psychiatric beds available.
· The Department of Corrections has become the single largest provider of mental health services.
· Over 40% of youth in the juvenile justice system have a mental health issue.
· Mental illness is more than 15% of America's "disease burden," a measure of the total financial and societal cost of a condition or conditions on an area, making it more impactful than all types of cancer combined.
· Untreated mental health conditions are one of the top drivers of overall healthcare costs, removing nearly $2 billion each year in lost earnings and productivity from the U.S. economy.
How You Can Help:
· Above all, remember that our mental health IS our health - the two aren't separate categories.
· Many individuals, especially men, refuse to seek help that could improve their lives because of the societal stigma associated with mental health problems. Avoiding buzz words like "crazy," "nuts," and "disturbed," and instead seeking to find compassion and common ground with people who have may have behavioral health issues can help reduce this harmful stigma.
· Do not automatically equate mental health conditions with violence or antisocial behavior. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, only about 5% of violent crimes are committed by a person with a mental health diagnosis.
· Share your personal experiences with mental health with others.
· Incorporate mental health into your regular check-ups, just like going to the dentist.
SOURCES: Mental Health America of Colorado, National Institute for Mental Health, Colorado Department of Human Services, American Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Psychiatric Services.