Mental Health Month activities planned

Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center acknowledges May as Mental Health Month, which has been officially recognized since 1949. CWRMH puts forth the message to area communities that treating the body without treating the mind is not treating the person.

Behavioral health disorders will surpass all physical diseases worldwide, and mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the United States, resulting in 217 million days of work lost annually due to productivity decline, more than many other chronic conditions. Colorado is ranked as the 18th most depressed state and has the ninth highest suicide rate in the United States. Lack of access to mental health services is repeatedly listed as one of the top five health threats in 23 communities around the state of Colorado.

A statewide collaborative of groups observe "Mental Health Month" each May to raise awareness and understanding of mental health.

“Access to medically necessary medication and treatment helps prevent individuals from ending up in emergency rooms and corrections facilities and from becoming homeless and, most importantly, prevents suicide, and it costs 6.5 times more to incarcerate an individual experiencing mental health issues than to treat them in the community,” said Sharon Raggio, CEO of Colorado West. “An important message of May is Mental Health Month is people who have mental illnesses can recover and lead full, productive lives. In fact, good mental health is essential to the overall health and emotional wellbeing of Colorado's children, youth, adults and families.”

Free mental health awareness webcasts will be offered from 3 to 4 p.m. in May. The schedule is:

• May 5 — Understanding depression

• May 12 — Understanding anxiety disorders

• May 19 — Understanding psychosis

• May 26 — Understanding substance use disorders

The webcasts are offered by the national advocacy and public education organization, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. Participants need to pre-register at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/176709011.

For more information on mental health and available services, call Craig Mental Health at 824-6541.

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