Mental health center celebrates 30 years |

Mental health center celebrates 30 years

Director says much has changed since Colorado West began its services

Josh Nichols

The Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and a lot has changed in those 30 years, a local director said.

Barb Seed, program director for the Craig Mental Health Center, said the Northwest Colorado agency started in 1972 on the tail of a mental health movement initiated by the Kennedy administration.

“During that time people were becoming more concerned about the institutionalization of the mentally ill,” Seed said. “A law was enacted that gave communities the ability to provide mental health centers.”

In 1972 Colorado West was given a community health center grant and its doors were opened in Craig.

When it first started, the health center was housed at the hospital in Hayden, she said.

Later it moved into a small house that was rented on Yampa Avenue.

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In 1990, the mental health building at 439 Breeze St. was purchased. This is where the center is still located.

One of the biggest changes that has occurred in the past 30 years is the partnerships it has formed in the community, Seed said.

“When it first started it stood alone,” she said. “We took individual appointments with whoever wanted to come in.”

In 2002, the center now partners with local agencies like the Moffat County Social Services Department, the Visiting Nurse Association, schools, Advocates Crisis Support Services and law enforcement agencies.

Through these partnerships more support is available for families and especially children, she said.

Seed said local law enforcement officials say they appreciate their partnership with Colorado West because before it was established, many people arrested who were mentally ill would have to go to jail.

“Now they can call our agency and find other services for these people,” she said. “It’s not a crime to be mentally ill. It’s up to us to help them get their symptoms under control.”

On Wednesday Colorado West in a 30th anniversary celebration at its offices will recognize those local agencies.

The celebration will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the public is invited, Seed said.

The progress of mental health education in society will also be celebrated, Seed said.

“One of the biggest things we’ve worked on is changing the stigma of our agency,” she said. “In the past, we’ve had people park somewhere else and walk to our building when they have an appointment. You don’t see that happen anymore.”