Our View: Unseen injuries hurt, too

Craig Editorial Board

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
  • Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
  • Allan Reishus, community representative
  • Chris Runyan, community representative
  • Ken Wergin, community representative

— People dealing with problems related to mental health and domestic violence often do not receive the help they need. That is true across the United States, including in Craig.

Local folks who do feel as if there is nothing to live for, or that they are stuck in an impossible home situation with no recourse need to be aware that help is available - and they need to seek out that help.

At the same time, community members need to make sure that complacence is not the reason someone slips through the cracks.

Statewide, Jeannie Ritter, Gov. Bill Ritter's wife, has made it her mission to raise awareness for mental health issues.

And locally, Advocates Crisis Support Services and community members are preparing to launch an education campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault.

A recent report from the Domestic Violence Research and Action Coalition indicated that residents do not know enough about domestic violence in their community.

That should raise red flags for all of us.

The report also showed that people were not aware of services available to victims of domestic violence through Advocates and other local groups. The news was surprising to Advocates Executive Director Pat Tessmer, but it also was a reminder of how important it is for groups that do provide these services to let the community know what kind of help is available.

We applaud Advocates for taking steps to spread the word of their services - but also for providing the services.

However, domestic violence cannot be stopped by one organization. We all have to take a stand on this issue, making sure people know that it will not be condoned in our community any longer.

We do have an independent streak in Craig, but there are some problems that cannot be solved without help, and knowing when and who to ask is very important.

The first step is being honest with yourself. The second step is making that call, whether to a friend, a religious leader, Advocates Crisis Support hotline, the police or a mental health professional at Craig Mental Health or elsewhere.

Alcohol and drugs can make problems related to domestic violence and mental health worse. There also is help for dealing with these problems, through groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery.

For children and teens dealing with these issues, whether among friends, themselves or family members, school counselors and youth groups, such as Moffat County Young Life, a Christian organization, are available.

Overall, health care options are getting better in Craig and Moffat County. We have seen increased care for uninsured patients through the Northwest Colorado Community Health Center, which is operated in the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association building in Craig. We have seen more options available closer to home for veterans through the Craig Community VA Telehealth Clinic.

What we still need to see is an equivalent for uninsured mental health patients.

However, rather than putting responsibility for this service all onto government and taxpayers, we, as a community, need to support what resources are already in place. Donating money for the purpose of treating mental health problem does not provide results as readily visible as donating toys for children, but it does help stabilize our community - especially during an economic slowdown when people have lost jobs or feel powerless.

And groups such as Advocates also deserve our support, whether financial or otherwise.

We know that money may be tight, and that charitable donations may not be in a family's budget, but if we can help in preventing domestic violence or in treating people with mental health problems in any way, we should do so.

These are problems that affect people of all ages, from all walks of life. We can't afford not to offer the treatment, prevention and help needed to our community members suffering through mental health issues or situations involving domestic violence.

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