Letter to the editor: Why isn’t Summit County creating its own mental health agency? | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Why isn’t Summit County creating its own mental health agency?

Stacy Smith

After reading the Summit Daily article Dec. 19 about mental health, I am grateful we are finally, seriously and critically analyzing mental health care in Summit. The suicide statistics in Colorado, particularly Summit, are horrifying. Community members are dying needlessly. Many are passionately trying, but we are not supporting the best way possible: together.

While pondering the article, I was wondering why no one is talking to me, a longtime local mental health clinician, or my colleagues on the mental health front lines? Instead, we are embroiled in debates between out-of-town failing corporations and law enforcement through a local paper. This is why people avoid mental health care: the bureaucratic bulls— that often accompanies it. The mental health community is far-reaching, including private practice counselors, doctors forced to become versed on psychotropic meds (from a lack of psychiatrists), paramedics/EMTs, law enforcement, social services, coroners departments, teachers — the list goes on of people fighting the uphill battle to support our community’s mental health. We little people, with individual fingers in a leaking and cracking dam trying to stop it from exploding, can help.

Allegedly, there are millions of dollars from mil levys; why aren’t we creating our own mental health agency? For Summit, by Summit. Summit has motivated, intelligent, qualified people able to create something unique that serves us. Why isn’t Summit working together, from all levels, building our own community-run, -owned and -operated mental health agency? An agency hiring local clinicians, handling the billing on both sides, a true one-stop shop for all things mental wellness. We need to communicate and work together to grow and serve our amazing county from within. Combining the community’s financial resources with the wealth of knowledge, experience and motivation of mental health professionals will save lives in Summit and improve our mental health.

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