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CC Recognized for Impactful Mental Health Initiatives

Colorado College will be recognized for its forward-looking programs and significant leadership in the mental health field by Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC). The tribute will be held in Denver on Saturday, Nov. 22.

"We celebrate and applaud Colorado College for the great work they have done and are doing to embrace the importance of mental health wellness for their students, faculty, and staff," said Don Mares, president and CEO of MHAC. "Their innovative thinking and intentionality to address the mental health needs of their students is inspiring."

Calling CC a model institution of higher learning in promoting and investing in the mental wellness of its community, MHAC cited the many areas in which CC's excels:

  • CC makes student wellness a priority by instituting a campus-wide mental health crisis protocol, providing 24/7 counselor access for students in mental health crisis, and promoting innovative "whole person" health efforts through the Wellness Resource Center.
  • Colorado College annually hosts a Mental Health Awareness Day.
  • GROW, a student-founded and run organization, advocates for mental health in the Colorado College community. Last fall GROW organized a campaign in which individual students were featured as people with mental health struggles (for instance, "My name is Sue and I have depression.") The idea was to humanize and put a face to mental illness, thereby removing the stigma.
  • In 2013, following a partnership with Mental Health America of Colorado, the college trained staff to teach Mental Health First Aid, often referred to as "CPR for the Mind," on campus.
  • CC is tackling the issue of mental health by partnering with "ULifeline," an online resource for college mental health that provides free mental health screenings, information, and access to mental health professionals 24 hours a day.
  • In March CC helped promote and sponsor the "Community Conversation - National Dialogue on Mental Health," held in Colorado Springs.

"We are honored by this award, and pleased to know that Colorado College's efforts to promote mental health are recognized," said President Jill Tiefenthaler. "Our hope is that this recognition helps to encourage other mental health advocates."

Heather Horton, director of CC's Wellness Resource Center, said mental health promotion and suicide prevention are key components of the Wellness Resource Center's efforts to promote holistic wellness. "In addition to providing opportunities for students to develop healthy coping and interpersonal skills, we have focused on expanding our campus community's capacity for responding to students in distress," Horton said. Over the last two years, more than 100 Colorado College students, staff, and faculty have been certified in Mental Health First Aid. "We have invested in training two staff members as trainers for the course so that we can conduct trainings at times most convenient for the members of the community," Horton said.

"All told, Colorado College has been an innovative and forward-thinking leader in the higher education community in Colorado in ensuring that mental health and substance use issues in the CC family are addressed head-on in creative and impactful ways," Mares said.

Also being honored at the upcoming tribute is Marguerite Salazar, Colorado Insurance Commissioner and former regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services, who was appointed to the latter position by President Barack Obama. The MHAC's tribute gala has grown through the years and traditionally honors individuals or organizations doing an outstanding job promoting mental health. This year's event will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Denver, 1550 Court Place.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020