Lindley: How far we’ve come on behavioral health
Since 2019, Eagle Valley Behavioral Health has been immersed in the largest per-capita behavioral health initiative underway in the United States. We’ve been working at a feverish pace to transform the behavioral health landscape in our valley, and I realize we haven’t stopped to report our progress.
It’s important for everyone to know what’s being done, so please help us by sharing what you read below. By partnering with over 40 local organizations with a common cause, we’ve collectively:
- Launched EagleValleyBH.org to feature all of the local behavioral health resources in one place, including a therapist finder tool
- Received designation by the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health as the first new Community Mental Health Center in the state of Colorado in the past 40 years
- Onboarded over 40 behavioral health providers in our community
- Donated over $6 million to support local organizations and programs who provide behavioral health-related services
- Helped launch the Hope Center of the Eagle River Valley to provide 24/7 free crisis co-response services, reducing the number of transports to the ER or county jail by over 70%
- Assisted the Hope Center in hiring and placing 13 mental health clinicians in the Eagle County School District
- Helped launch Hearts Reign to offer behavioral health peer support and training to the Latino community
- Created Olivia’s Fund to offer up to six free behavioral health sessions for anyone who lives or works in Eagle County and needs financial help
- Created one of the largest local Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) in the nation, testing it first on our own Vail Health staff, and now onboarding local employers to the network
- Partnered with Colorado Mountain Medical to establish the Victim First Care program to provide Sexual Assault Nurse Examination and Forensic Nurse Examinations for prompt medical care and emotional support to assault victims — right here in Eagle County, 24/7/365
- Established a free peer support program to offer group-oriented care for a variety of behavioral health challenges
- Partnered with Eagle County Community Paramedics, the Katz Amsterdam Foundation and The Colorado Health Foundation to bring bilingual, bicultural behavioral health navigation services to Eagle County
- Hosted over 90 free community events designed to educate and equip locals on behavioral health topics
- Won the American Hospital Association NOVA Award (1 of 5 in the U.S.), which recognizes outstanding collaboration by hospitals and health systems for healthier communities
Our timing has been favorable. Less than a year after launching Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, the biggest pandemic in 100 years hit the world and our small community, and we were better prepared than 99% of communities in America. We have been supporting those who are most vulnerable to the behavioral health challenges of COVID-19, including health care workers, first responders, teachers, parents and youth.
Though zero deaths by suicide is our desire, we are fighting every day to keep our deaths by suicide far below where we were just a few years ago. But we have a long way to go.
We are in the process of developing a behavioral health specialty clinic, known as the Wiegers’ Family Mental Health Clinic, to provide intensive outpatient services in early 2022. We are in the approval process for building a comprehensive inpatient behavioral health facility in Edwards, with the hope of opening in 2023.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
We are expanding our outpatient services to reach our neighbors in Summit County. That means that over the next two years, no one will need to leave our communities to get access to the behavioral health services they need.
With your continued support, we will get closer to achieving our vision for a day when every community member in our valley spends as much time, effort and resources on their behavioral health as they do their physical health. Help us by considering your own behavioral health or supporting someone else today.
Chris Lindley is the chief population health officer for Vail Health and the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health.