Mental health advocates march in Eagle to celebrate past year’s successes, acknowledge work ahead
EAGLE — When mental health advocates gathered in 2017 to march down Broadway Street in Eagle, they concluded their parade at the Eagle County commissioners meeting, where they pleaded for increased awareness and funding for their cause.
They marched again this year, after having accomplished both of those objectives. But that’s not to say their work is done. In fact, the heavy lifting has just begun.
The second Changing Minds parade was held Tuesday, April 17. Just as they did last year, the commissioners demonstrated their support by declaring May as Mental Health Awareness Month. But they also had the opportunity to talk about work that is underway to help bring increased services to locals.
Last fall, Eagle County voters passed a ballot measure that imposed a new sales tax on marijuana purchases, with the proceeds going to mental health programs. With that designated funding, the county is reaching out to other entities and formulating plans to address local mental health needs.
“We do have money, but there is a lot of need,” said mental health advocate Agnes Harakal.
As the effort to provide care is launched, Harakal asked for a moment of silence to remember local victims of suicide — lives lost because proper mental health care was unavailable.
“Depression is a brain disease, and we need to remove the stigma,” she said. “These are fixable illnesses, but people need to know they can get help.”
In terms of area, it’s the county’s smallest conservation deal ever. In terms of location, it’s one of the county’s rarest acquisitions.