Mind Springs Health weathering changes with new director in Craig

Lauren Blair/For Craig Press
Peggy Sammons, left, recently began her tenure as the new director for Mind Springs Health in Craig.
File Photo

Mind Springs Health in Craig has new a leader at the helm after former program director Craig Thornhill stepped down this spring.

New program director Peggy Sammons wasn’t necessarily aiming for the top spot in the Craig clinic, but after decades of serving patients, she was ready to take the leap.

“It truly wasn’t my goal, however I feel at this time I’ve already worked 20 years, and I decided to make this change to go from a specialist to a generalist and take on a new challenge,” Sammons said.

While Sammons still sees some clients as a therapist, her new role includes managing staff and clinicians at Mind Springs as well as engaging with other community agencies to oversee a variety of programs.

“We have the day treatment program, we work in the schools, we have a partnership with  Memorial Regional Health, we have a care coordinator and of course we have programs in the jail,” Sammons said.

Mind Springs also recently launched a new crisis clinic in May, but was thrown a curveball when the state announced last week it wouldn’t renew its contract with the agency for community crisis services. Sammons learned Wednesday that Mind Springs was given an extra 60 days to continue providing crisis services, including a 24/7 crisis line and mobile response team, but doesn’t yet know what will happen with those services beyond then.

“We’re just taking it day by day and trying to serve the community,” Sammons said.

Another program got a total reset this year due to a turnover in leadership not just at Mind Springs but at the Moffat County Department of Human Services as well.

New DHS director Annette Norton oversees the day treatment program, along with Sammons and Moffat County School District, which targets at-risk youth to prevent out-of-home placements.

“We have a brand-new team,” Norton said. “It allowed us the opportunity as a team to review all our practices and processes… and to do a quality control check.”

With 14 spots, the voluntary program aims to provide youth between ages 11 and 18 and their families with high intensity services to help kids overcome challenges, whether related to academics, substance abuse, family conflict, mental or physical illness, or legal trouble.

“This is a program that’s positive and impactful to the community,” Norton said, lauding the partnership with Mind Springs. “I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with Peggy for many years. She is an excellent clinician and an excellent role model for her staff.”

Sammons was an obvious pick to become Thornhill’s successor, and the two colleagues were able to work closely together to ensure a smooth transition.

“She’s been in the community for decades, she has strong community ties… and she was the premier clinician supervisor in my office leading up to this, so all arrows pointed to she was the right one,” Thornhill said.

Thornhill moved into private practice in Steamboat Springs, where he and his family reside.

“I’ve been in the field for 15 years, and I think the six years I spent (at Mind Springs) was some of the more profound work I’ve done and one of better teams I’ve been a part of,” Thornhill said. “I’ve never done anything so powerful. I won’t miss the admin work but I will miss the team.”

As for Sammons, the work all comes back to fostering wellness amongst Moffat County residents.

“I like to say, I inspire others to inspire others,” Sammons said. “I’m just so proud of this team, I can’t brag on them enough… We have the same vision and that’s health and wellness for the community.”

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