Mental Health Minute

March 2020


Estes Park School District and Estes Valley Library are proud to present Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age. This special event coincides with the Spring Conferences at the Middle and High Schools. This is an ideal opportunity parents to check-in with teachers, grab a bite to eat, and learn about navigating technology with their youth all in one evening!

  • When: Wednesday, March 11th at 6 pm
  • Where: Estes Park High School Auditorium & Commons
  • Cost: FREE

Potluck & Resources 5-6 pm, Screenagers viewing 6-7 pm, Discussions 7-8 pm. Attend any or all as you are able. Please register here (registration not necessary but encouraged):

We hope to see you there!

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Happy Birthday, Rudy!

Rudy officially turns a year old over Spring Break on 3/26/2020. Rudy and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Estes Park School District and Estes Valley Community for welcoming him with open arms (and quite a few treats). The last year has been quite the journey! Rudy came to us from The Cedar House in Abilene, Kansas - saying goodbye to his mom and siblings who are also therapy dogs across the country. Rudy trained diligently over the summer as a puppy to earn his AKC STAR Puppy certification. He may have took a few naps between training sessions. This school year, students, parents, and staff joined Rudy and I for some "on the job training". We got to teach Rudy how to treat us (and maybe we picked up some skills on how we can teach other creatures of the two-legged variety how to treat us at the same time). After lots of walks between school buildings in the sun, wind and snow, Rudy is now a year old! We look forward to testing for his adult certification now -- the AKC Canine Good Citizen. I see faces light up when Rudy enters a room and, you'll have to take my word for it, his face lights up even more when I open the front door and he knows he gets to come to school for the day. Thank you, Estes Park, for being open to innovation, for understanding growing pains, and giving both Rudy and I so much purpose and joy. Here's to many more birthdays together!
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Cat Chat at EPHS!

Coffee carts in Estes Park fight teen suicide

Estes Park High School (EPHS) was awarded a grant by the Larimer County Behavioral Health Services department in October 2019 to pilot a unique, student-driven program using coffee carts as a way to help students connect, share, and prevent suicide.

Suicide is the leading cause of death among youth ages 10-17 In Colorado and in Larimer County it is the second leading cause of youth deaths. The goal of the EPHS coffee cart program, named Cat Chat after the school mascot, is to reduce social stigma and increase mental health awareness and early intervention by bridging student connectivity gaps at school.

The school uses a portable coffee cart to allow students to gather for conversation in a confidential setting, promoting the student’s sense of value and safe respect for sensitivity.

On Fridays, students meet at the coffee cart, indicate how they’re feeling on their coffee sleeves (anxious, sad, calm, happy, etc.), and engage with peers in a device-free, secure atmosphere. Conversations are run by a student peer leader who coordinates the coffee-cart sessions, facilitates discussions, and reports back to a mental health faculty member if a student in the group shares feelings that suggest they are a suicide risk.

Hannah Knox, the school advisor overseeing the program, is encouraged by the level of student involvement. “We have 10 student peer leaders who run the cart of various grade levels, genders, and identity. What I love about this group is that it is a unique swatch of our student population. These are kids who are very passionate about mental health and helping others,” says Knox.

According to the project sponsor Dr. Lisa Kurth, the school will produce a documentary on the project to share findings and program impact, using this project as a model that could be rolled out in other schools across the state.

Dr. Kurth said, “students have expressed true ownership, enthusiasm, and participation in this novel program.” The coffee cart has received so much positive feedback that the school is planning on expanding the program for the remainder of the school year.

The students at EPHS are on to something with their unique coffee cart program. Recent research reveals correlations between social connectedness and mental health.

The grant that EPHS received for this project was funded by the 2018 Larimer County voter-approved sales and use tax ballot initiative. Funding from the tax is redirected back into the county in the form of grants with four priority areas identified: suicide prevention, mental illness/substance use disorders, stigma reduction/community engagement, innovation/new practices.

In 2019, $1 Million was returned back to Larimer County communities through the Behavioral Health Services grant program.

Published on:

Friday, February 28, 2020 - 12:28pm

Contact Details:

Jennifer Wolfe-Kimbell, Communication and Media Specialist, [970] 498-7127,

Colorado Crisis Services - What to Expect

What to Expect

Colorado Crisis Services - FAQs

1) What is Colorado Crisis Services?

We are Colorado’s first statewide resource for mental health, substance use or emotional crisis help, information and referrals. We formed as a part of the initiative set forth by Gov. John Hickenlooper, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services, to strengthen Colorado’s mental health system. Our purpose is to provide greater access to mental health services, ensuring Coloradans get the right services in the right locations at the right time.

2) How can Colorado Crisis Services help?

If you don’t know where to begin getting mental health, substance use or emotional help for yourself or someone you know, start here. Colorado Crisis Services provides confidential and immediate support, 24/7/365, on the phone or in person at our walk-in centers.

3) What can I expect when I call?

When you call Colorado Crisis Services, you will be immediately connected to a crisis counselor—a trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree—or a trained peer specialist who has overcome similar experiences. We offer translation services for non-English speakers, we engage in immediate problem solving, and we make follow-up calls to ensure you receive continued care.

4) What kinds of people are answering the phones? What are their backgrounds?

Depending on the reason for your call, you will either be connected to a crisis counselor or a trained peer specialist. Crisis counselors are trained mental health professionals with a master’s or doctoral degree. Peer specialists are individuals who have overcome similar mental health experiences and are now providing insight and guidance to others. They are trained to offer support on a variety of topics.

5) What kinds of things can I call about?

Crisis is in the eye of the beholder—so if you aren’t sure how to handle a crisis, or a situation that may lead to a crisis, our services are open to you. You can call about anything in your life that you feel you need help with or want to talk about. Common call topics include: depression, substance use, grief & loss, self harm & suicidal thoughts, bullying, stress, parenting concerns, PTSD, drugs & alcohol, relationship problems, family crisis, anxiety, domestic violence, homelessness, disability, concerns for a friend or family member, recovery support, and resource questions.

6) What is the difference between the Colorado Crisis Services line and the Suicide hotline?

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255 (TALK)) is based in New York and is routed by area code to regional providers. The area codes for Colorado are routed to two organizations locally, including Colorado Crisis Services, which is a certified Lifeline provider. Most calls are related to suicide prevention or rescue. The Colorado Crisis Services line is dedicated to Colorado and provides access to the statewide crisis system. There is no wrong door for any behavioral health crisis or resource need, and anyone can call either number and get access to the same professional and expert response.

7) What is the difference between the Colorado Crisis Services hotline and the Colorado Crisis Services warm line?

The same number, 1-844-493-TALK (8255), will reach both the hotline and warm line. The hotline is staffed by professional crisis counselors who are equipped to handle a wide range of crisis scenarios. The warm line is staffed by peer support specialists, individuals who have gone through crisis personally and are now available to help others. Upon calling, the counselor or specialist will determine which line will best serve your needs.

8) Do I have to tell them my name when I call in?

The counselor will ask for at least a first name and call back number in case the call gets dropped or disconnected. However, it is not required to give your name.

9) Where can I get help in person?

Our walk-in centers are open 24/7 and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need. If you need in-person assistance or are helping others with a crisis, you can always go to a walk-in center near you. Walk-in centers are located statewide, including the Denver Metro region, Northeast region, Western Slope region and Southeast region.

10) What happens when I go to a walk-in center?

The appropriate intervention will be determined and if needed, you will receive an assessment. This includes a brief physical evaluation by a medical professional. If admitted to a Crisis Bed, you will meet with a Psychiatrist within 24 hours, as well as participate in developing a treatment plan that will allow you to transition home safely, with additional supports if needed.

11) How often can I call or walk-in?

You can call whenever you need additional support or feel that you are in crisis. You may also just show up at any of the walk-in crisis centers if you are experiencing some sort of mental health, substance use or emotional issue.

12) Do your counselors speak other languages?

The hotline counselors, as well as the staff at the walk-in centers, have access to over two hundred languages via telephonic translation services. There may also be bilingual staff at some of the locations.

13) Can you come to me?

A Mobile Crisis Clinician may be dispatched by calling the hotline (1-844-493-TALK (8255)) if it is deemed appropriate. A mobile clinician may go to a variety of locations in the community (schools, homes, churches, etc.).

14) Are the services free?

Crisis services are available regardless of one’s ability to pay. If an individual has private insurance, a co-payment may be required depending on the plan coverage. No one will be turned away for crisis services. A co-payment is not required at the time of service.

15) Can I request help for a loved one?

A family member or friend of an individual in crisis may certainly call the hotline and discuss the situation with the clinician to determine the best plan.

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LQBTQIA+ Support Group

This is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ identities ages 18+ to discuss their personal experiences with either sexual identity and/or gender identity. Discuss LGBTQIA+ issues and how to better improve resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals in the Estes Valley.

1st & 3rd Tuesday of Each Month

6-7 pm at the EVCA Outreach Office (1732 Mountain View Ct)

Under age 18? Ask about the GSA at EPHS!

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Camp Brave Heart - Teen Grief Camp

Camp BraveHeart is a free camp and a collaboration between 3Hopeful Hearts and Community Grief Center. It is a camp for children, ages 12-18, who are grieving the loss of a sibling, parent, or other close family member(s). Teens will have the opportunity to share feelings and memories with other children who have experienced a similar loss. They will leave the day with a renewed sense of self and coping skills that will help them manage grief in everyday life.

Suicide Data Fast Fact - Colorado Department of Health & Environment

It is important to consider suicide data and prevention efforts across the lifespan. In 2018, the suicide rate for adults ages 25 and over was 27.5 per 100,000 population, which is more than double the suicide rate for youth ages 10-18 (11.5 per 100,000 population).

In Colorado between 2004 and 2018, about 85% of all suicide deaths were among adults (n=12,123). During this time period, males accounted for the majority of suicides among adults in Colorado, representing 76.8% (n=9,308) of all adult suicides. The rate of suicide among adult males (36.8 per 100,000 population) was significantly higher than adult females (10.9 per 100,000 population).

Lena Heilmann, PhD, MNM
Sasha Mintz, MPH

Anxiety - Parent Education & Training Workshop

The Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Connections (CAYAC) program is offering a half-day Anxiety Parent Education Workshop for parents with children ages 6-13. This workshop is intended to provide education, guidance, and concrete strategies for parenting a child with anxiety. Every family attending will receive a copy of the parenting strategies book Helping Your Anxious Child – Second Edition by Rapee, Wignall, Spence, Cobham, and Lyneham. Lunch will be provided.

  • Learn the brain science behind anxiety.
  • Identify the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as they contribute to anxiety.
  • Learn about the current treatments for anxiety with children.
  • Learn about parenting strategies to for your child’s specific needs.
  • Develop a parenting plan for how to support your child with anxiety.

Facilitated by Marybeth Rigali-Oiler, PhD

  • When: Saturday, March 7th 9:00am-1:00pm
  • Where: CAYAC office 425 W. Mulberry Street, Suite 112, Fort Collins
  • Cost: $40 per family (scholarships available upon request)

To register and for more information, contact Ana Pasini at or call 970-530-2842.

ADHD - Parent Education and Training Workshop

The Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Connections (CAYAC) program is offering a half-day ADHD parent education workshop for parents with children ages 6-13. This workshop is intended to provide education, guidance, and concrete strategies for parenting a child with ADHD. Every family attending will receive a copy of the parenting strategies book Mindful Parenting for ADHD by Mark Bertin, MD. Lunch will be provided.

  • Overview of the brain science behind ADHD and how to use that information to inform parenting style.
  • Learn how to assess for and build on your child’s strengths in light of their challenges as a child with ADHD.
  • Learn parent strategies for addressing unwanted behavior or acting out at home.
  • Learn how to support your child living up to their fullest potential.
  • Learn how to address social and interpersonal difficulties your child may be having due to ADHD.
  • Learn how to support your child in achieving academically.
  • Learn how to work with the school to ensure your child is getting the supports (if any) they need.

Facilitated by Marybeth Rigali-Oiler, PhD

  • When: Saturday, April 4th 9:00am-1:00pm
  • Where: CAYAC office 425 W. Mulberry Street, Suite 112, Fort Collins
  • Cost: $40 per family (scholarships available upon request)

To register and for more information, contact Ana Pasini at or call 970-530-2842.

Hannah Knox, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

I am a professional that believes in the empowerment of youth to create meaningful change in this world. The majority of my time is serving Estes students (and families) through direct service, case collaboration, and case management. I support staff through education, consultation, and resource referrals. I also work with community providers for wrap-around support for individual cases, community events, group offerings, and mental health crisis preparation.