Vail Daily letter: Need better counseling |

Vail Daily letter: Need better counseling

Michael G. Gallagher
Denver, CO Colorado

I was stunned when I read the first sentence of the second paragraph of Elizabeth Myers’ recent column on suicide prevention awareness training in the schools. I can hardly imagine the state of disconnect to think that teaching about suicide is “fun.”

Must be slow over at the office. (A lot of people can’t afford costly mental health care, hence less clients in today’s resort economy) While I am glad that something is being done, suicide prevention is dead serious. Teaching is fun. It doesn’t pay well – nor does school psychology – so teaching at less than executive director salary day in and day out isn’t as fun.-

Which brings me to the historically sad state of the school district’s counseling program (school psychology is a fraction of what it could and should be, suicide prevention/awareness and family support programs should have been instituted by and paid for by the school district decades ago, and the county won’t spend too much as some of our taxpaying residents are rather unholy). Resources outside of the district’s budget are going into the public schools, when the district should be doing this. Maybe they are these days. They didn’t used to do much at all.

There is a critical need to do everything possible to make mental health care available to those who need it, and leading killer, suicide, affects way more than the victims. Like I said in a newspaper column, build a system that works from the ground up. I have no use for some of our over-paid mental health bureaucracy and sittin’-pretty administrators.

Back to the “fun” part. Suicide hit a 30-year high in Colorado in 2009. It is one of the leading killers of both youth and adults. Colorado is in the top 10 nationwide (ninth). Mental health services are like health care and health insurance. Some people are making money hand over foot off of the pain of others and worse. I don’t care what your title is, and can’t figure out why it took over 600 words to concisely lay it out there. Or, for that matter, why the Daily was covering suicide prevention and the coalition. I still owe the Samaritan Center money I can’t pay.

Why is my counseling fee (owed) being used to pay someone to go in and do what I have paid the school district in taxes (and sweat) to do? Where are the adult services that actually work (“evidence-based”)?

I lived in Eagle County for over 26 years. Mental health care locally is not based on the needs of the individual residents who live here. It’s the other way around, and people are still dying. I read a mention of a recent Eagle County suicide. Maybe if there were better avenues for local adults to get help.

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