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Denver Recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month

DENVER – May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and Mayor Michael B. Hancock and the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies (OBHS) are encouraging residents to actively think about mental wellness, learn the signs of and how to get help for themselves others living with mental illness, and to share stories of recovery. In order to promote understanding and reduce stigma around mental illness, OBHS is releasing a series of videos that will run throughout the year that tell stories of recovery and encourage all residents to remember “Your Mind Matters.” The first video is available now.

“When we talk openly about our experiences and work together to find innovative ways to improve the mental wellbeing of those in our community who are struggling, we can help thousands of people get their lives back,” Mayor Hancock said. “Through coordination and strong partnerships between the city and our private and nonprofit partners, we are improving our community’s understanding of mental health, training more people to recognize the signs of mental illness, addiction and trauma, and better supporting people in achieving overall mental wellness.”

One in three Coloradans will experience a behavioral health condition that includes mental health, trauma, substance abuse, or a combination of the three, making it likely that most people in Denver know or are someone impacted by the issue. OBHS brings together partners across Denver to strengthen the network of services that support mental health for our entire community.

In 2016, OBHS joined other city agencies and private partners to launch and sustain a number of initiatives, highlighted in the attached fact sheet. Denver OBHS is focused on Proactive, Responsive, Integrated Strategies for Mental Wellness (PRISM).

“Recovery is possible and productive lives are probable when people living with a mental health or substance use disorder focus holistically on their emotional, physical, financial, mental and relationship wellbeing,” Regina Huerter, executive director of the Denver Office of Behavioral Health Strategies said. “Each member of our community, including businesses, schools, government agencies, healthcare providers, organizations and residents, share the opportunity to promote mental wellness, staff training and support prevention efforts by learning more and sharing their own experiences.”

For immediate help with a mental or behavioral health concern, call 1-844-493-TALK (8255), text TALK to 38255, visit www.coloradocrisisservices.org to chat live with a crisis services professional, or go to the Denver Walk-In Crisis Services at 4353 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80220. All services are offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Colorado Crisis Services is Colorado’s first statewide resource for mental health, substance use or emotional crisis help, information and referrals. If you or someone is experiencing a crisis requiring immediate attention, always call 9-1-1.

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949. Nearly 44 million American adults and millions of children experience mental health conditions each year, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress. 50 percent of all people with mental health conditions experience them by age 14, and 75 percent by age 24.

The Office of Behavioral Health Strategies will recognize Mental Health Awareness Month throughout May and will partner with other providers to support Mental Health First Aid trainings, awareness events and to share stories of recovery. Mayor Hancock also proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month in Denver

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About the Denver Office of Behavioral Health Strategies

Denver launched the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies (OBHS) in January 2015 to promote system coordination, increase access to treatment, and address gaps and barriers to recovery. OBHS brings together partners across Denver to find innovative ways to strengthen the network of services that support mental health for our entire community.