Some of you may know this and others may not, that I spend a lot of my time in the Gunnison Valley area in Colorado. Of course, I still split my time because of clients, networking, and trainings but I mostly hang my hat in the mountains. As I’ve gotten older I can’t completely handle the extreme heat that looms over Denver in the summer months. So I’ve been retreating to the mountains, and that’s where I’ll always call myself “home.”
What I’ve learned rather quickly in being here is that mental health and substance abuse resources are slim. Like, very slim. The resources available to young people on the Front Range are abundant, whereas down here it’s practically non-existent. Although locally folks are trying to provide the resources that these young people need, they may not realize that some additional resources are at their finger tips.
It’s important to note that although I’m in Gunnison, to my knowledge, I’m the only Therapeutic Consultant on the entire Western Slope. A lot of my colleagues who live in Denver and Boulder can work with families on the Western Slope, yet none of them are experiencing the true mountain culture. For those of you reading this, it’s a completely different life down here. The Front Range is like a completely different country.
If you are working with families or know of families who may need the support of a Therapeutic Consultant, don’t hesitate to share my contact information. Often times local resources just aren’t enough. I travel the world to visit programs that could be a good resource for the families I work with. And on the map I may a few miles away as the crow flies, I’m also hours away crossing several mountain passes. Thankfully I have cell phone service where I live. I am able to speak with families in the High Country (Durango, Telluride, Grand Junction, Aspen, Steamboat, Dillon) - just as I am able to speak with the families I work with in Denver, Boston, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. I understand the harsh winters here. I also moved here because I love winter! I understand how high altitude can impact the brain. I understand how someone can have embarrassment and worry for getting treatment for mental health in a small rural community. Just because we’re further away from a major airport doesn’t mean we are future away from needing the same resources as those who live in an urban area.
I just wanted to speak up about being here. I’m local. I’m not going anywhere. I want to help local families; in Gunnison and across the entire Western Slope. Every family needs to know what resources are available. It’s time you knew I was around.