Recently, I asked county mental health staff how many providers we have and was told 14. That’s the number of private providers not vetted or with any obligation to the county. Our county contracts with Mind Springs in Grand Junction to provide services, and their brochures mention several community-based programs and treatment options in that area. Granby has one provider, one day a week, on-site. They have access to telehealth, a solution during the pandemic but limited in access. Today we have fewer providers than we had at Colorado West (Mind Springs) 20 years ago. They are funded to provide services in 10 counties and only one has fewer providers than Grand. There is a huge gap in services between prevention and crisis intervention. Recently, I assisted someone struggling to reach out to Mind Springs in Granby. Following instructions and with completed paperwork in hand, they walked into the office and were told there were no openings. The paperwork was handed back, and they were given a provider list. Calls to everyone resulted in one call back. We are fortunate to have dedicated private providers in the county but cannot rely on them to meet our needs. The issue is bigger than an agency or small group of individuals. Grand did an extensive health needs assessment in 2012 & 2018 where mental health was identified as a top priority. Seventy-six percent providers in county put major effort into mental health in the previous five years. This did not lead to improvement in access to care for adults. After the 2018 assessment, mental health issues were grouped together as one, followed by housing and transportation for the top three priorities in the Public Health Improvement Plan. Addressing substance abuse was listed fifth. There are creative solutions to promote and sustain mental wellness and substance abuse recovery.
Peg O’Neill, Tabernash