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Conversation on Mental Health Moves to Greeley

A statewide listening tour heads to Greeley Tuesday, May 24 in an effort to learn more about barriers to accessing mental health care. (Counselling/Pixabay)
A statewide listening tour heads to Greeley Tuesday, May 24 in an effort to learn more about barriers to accessing mental health care. (Counselling/Pixabay)
May 18, 2016

DENVER - Mental Health Colorado is bringing its statewide listening tour to Greeley on May 24 in an effort to engage more residents in breaking through the barriers of mental health care.

Andrew Romanoff, president and CEO of the group, says more than 1 million Coloradans experience a mental-health or substance-use disorder each year, and many go without treatment.

"We're not alone. There's a suicide in America every 13 minutes," Romanoff says. "Colorado has one of the highest rates in the country, and there's far more that we can do to make sure people get the mental health services they need before it's too late."

The first Conversation with Colorado event in Pueblo drew a standing room only crowd of 70 providers, family members and law enforcement officials.

Romanoff says the group reported the biggest barriers to getting care were cost of treatment and the stigma associated with mental and substance-use disorders.

A new report by The Colorado Health Foundation, "Mental Health in Colorado," fills in some pieces of the puzzle with key data on youth, adult and senior populations, showing who is and who is not accessing care.

Romanoff says he's hopeful the report's findings, along with personal experiences gathered during the tour, will help Colorado become a national leader in mental health.

"The only way that we're going to make sure everybody in this state gets access to the mental health care that we need is by knocking down the barriers that we identify, and that's the point of this statewide listening tour," says Romanoff. "Let's figure out what's working, what's not, and how to move our state forward."

After the Greeley event at the Farr Library, the listening tour will head to Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Brighton, Aurora and Grand Junction.

For details, visit mentalhealthcolorado.org.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO