Community Connections: Mind Springs Health a sanctuary for healing |

Community Connections: Mind Springs Health a sanctuary for healing

Gina Toothaker/For the Steamboat Pilot & Today

The mission of Mind Springs Health is to provide access to quality mental health and substance abuse services, enhancing resilience and recovery in individuals, families and communities.

To answer the question, "What do I want the community to know about Mind Springs Health?" is a daunting task. First and foremost, I want people to know we're here.

Formerly Colorado West Regional Mental Health (aka Steamboat Mental Health), Mind Springs has been in business as a private nonprofit, community mental health agency for 42 years.

Second, I want people to know what we do. We have a staff of 25 caring and experienced professionals who are here to help people in our community through a wide variety of programs and services.

We offer mental health and substance abuse therapy for individuals, families, couples and groups; psychiatry and medication management for children and adults; case management; and peer support services.

We also provide services such as DUI therapy and education, and substance abuse monitoring.

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Our services are more accessible by having clinicians on-site at our schools, Colorado Mountain College, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association/Community Health Center, and even the jail. We run our own detox program.

Finally, we provide 24/7 Crisis response, supporting people in crisis and evaluating for possible inpatient placement.

But that lengthy list still doesn't really tell you what we do.

The answer is that Mind Springs Health helps children and adults in our community feel and function better — we help them improve their mental health.

If you were to ask a friend what is mental health, they might respond that it's a "state of mind," "being content with life" or "feeling good about yourself."

Simply put, mental health is the ability to cope with daily life and the challenges it brings.

When a person has "good" mental health, they deal better with what comes their way. By contrast, "poor" mental health — such as feeling overwhelmed by stress — can make even day-to-day life difficult. And poor mental health can significantly harm a person's physical health.

Research shows that stress is closely linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. People who feel depressed or chronically stressed may have a greater risk of physical illnesses.

May is Mental Health Month, and Mind Springs Health is raising awareness of this role mental health plays in our lives.

Did you know that one in every four people experiences an emotional, behavioral, mental or substance abuse disorder? That's a lot of people.

While the exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known, it's becoming clear through research that many are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental factors, not personal weakness or a character defect.

We also recognize that most people who come through our doors have experienced some kind of trauma in their lives.

Recovery from mental illness is not simply a matter of will and self-discipline. We offer a safe, supportive environment where symptoms and stresses are addressed and treated.

Mind Springs Health essentially strives to create a sense of sanctuary for clients.

We all know the importance of taking care of our physical health. Caring for our minds is just as important. Know when to reach out for help. We can help people learn what they can do to protect their mental health in tough times and also to improve their mental well-being throughout their lives.

Gina Toothaker is a licensed professional counselor, a certified addiction counselor and the program director for Mind Springs Health in Routt and Jackson counties.

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