Grassroots Movement to Confront Mental Illness Gains Momentum

Apr 2, 2014

Jim Trotter, I-News Network
Originally published March 31, 2014

 A statewide grassroots movement to reduce the stigma of mental illness and to remove barriers to treatment, Creating Community Solutions Colorado, will intensify its efforts Saturday with large public meetings planned for Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Glenwood Springs.

More than 60 organizations will be collaborating with those who are diagnosed with mental illness and mood disorders, their families and community members to focus on priorities for their specific regions of the state, and to develop funded action plans, said project director Diane Mulligan.

The public is invited to each session, and interested persons can RSVP on Facebook.

The Colorado initiative is part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, which was established by the Obama administration in the wake of the elementary school shootings in Connecticut and other tragic events, including the Aurora theater shootings.

The National Dialogue harkens back to President John F. Kennedy's call to Congress in 1963 to confront mental illness, which, he said at the time, caused more suffering by the families of the afflicted, wasted more of human resources, and constituted more financial drain upon the public and the individual families than any other single condition.

"In the half century since, we've made tremendous progress as a country when it comes to attitudes about mental health," wrote Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services, in a USA Today commentary. "But recent events have reminded us that we still have a long way to go to bring mental health fully out of the shadows once and  for all."

The Creating Community Solutions Colorado's Facebook page offers its own sobering reminders of the high cost of inaction, including four teen suicides in Douglas County earlier this year. In one of those incidents, a 15 year old killed his mother before killing himself. There is also a poignant student-made video in response to those events.

The lineup for Saturday, April 5:

- History Colorado Center, Denver, from 8:30 a.m. - noon.

-Berger Hall, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, from 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

-Fort Collins Marriott, Fort Collins, from 10 a.m. - noon.

-Glenwood Springs Branch Library, Glenwood Springs, from 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Admission is free. Check it all out here: