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Pikes Peak draws thousands of visitors to the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado every year. Located in El Paso County, on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains, the city sits more than 6,000 feet above sea level and is home to over 430,000 full-time residents1. “The Springs,” as it is known by locals, also provides a home to the United States Air Force Base and the United States Olympic Training Center. Figure skating has been associated with the city for decades, and Colorado Springs has been the host city of both world and national championships.

Mental Health Statistics
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that out of 100,000 El Paso County residents, 65.1 adults were hospitalized for suicide attempts and 2,874 adults were hospitalized with mental health problems. More than 28% of all parents with children between the ages of 1 and 14 reported having a child with a mental or emotional health problem, and symptoms of postpartum depression were reported by 13.4% of women during the years of 2009 and 2010.2. In addition, 14.2% of adults in El Paso County experienced at least one episode of binge drinking during a one-month period in the past several years3.

Colorado Springs Puts Its HEART into Mental Health Care
The county provides a comprehensive network of care through the El Paso County Department of Mental Health Support Services. The Family Academy includes three separate divisions designed to advocate and address mental health needs. The Youth Academy gives young people the opportunity to share their experiences and teach other young county residents how to become successful leaders and productive citizens. The Children’s Academy provides childcare, and the Parent Academy was created to help parents of children with mental and emotional impairments. Through the academy, parents can network with other families, participate in support groups, learn effective and therapeutic communication techniques, develop cooperative discipline skills, and gain access to a wide array of resources4.

In addition, El Paso County provides mental health consultations to parents of young children to address any concerns they may have regarding emotional, behavioral, or social development. The consultations extend to include screening for mental health issues, parent education, classroom education, observation, and action plan implementation5

In an effort to help residents reintegrate into the community after release from the judicial system, El Paso County created Helping All Residents Transition (HEART). This comprehensive, collaborative program allows participants to be reintroduced to family members while enrolled in a transitional living facility. During this time, they are provided with individual and family counseling, care management, support, individualized treatment, and referrals to other useful resources6.

El Paso Mental Health Support Services also recently introduced Helping El Paso Residents Achieve Resilience to Traumatic Stress (HEARTS) in an effort to combat the negative effects of trauma. Residents involved in HEARTS are provided with therapy, substance use treatment when necessary, education to develop coping skills, and other resources to help them successfully overcome trauma and strengthen resiliency7. El Paso County also provides Colorado Springs residents with full wraparound services to ensure continuity of care for families, children, and adults with multiple mental health issues.

1 U.S. Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau. (2013). State & County QuickFacts. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/08/0816000.html

2 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. (2013). Mental Health Status in El Paso County. Retrieved from http://www.chd.dphe.state.co.us/healthindicators/indicators.aspx?dID=6&sdID=33&cID=41&rID=4

3Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. (2013). Substance Abuse Status in El Paso County. Retrieved from http://www.chd.dphe.state.co.us/healthindicators/indicators.aspx?dID=6&sdID=34&cID=41&rID=4

4 El Paso County Department of Mental Health Support Services. (2013). Family Academy. Retrieved from http://www.epcounty.com/mentalhealth/documents/brochures/FamilyAcademy.pdf

5 El Paso County Department of Mental Health Support Services. (2013). Mental Health Consultation. Retrieved from http://www.epcounty.com/mentalhealth/documents/brochures/MentalHealthConsultation.pdf

6 El Paso County Department of Mental Health Support Services. (2013). Helping All Residents Transition. Retrieved from http://www.epcounty.com/mentalhealth/documents/brochures/HelpingAllResidentsTransition(HEART).pdf

7El Paso County Department of Mental Health Support Services. (2013). Helping El Paso Residents Achieve Resilience to Traumatic Stress. Retrieved from http://www.epcounty.com/mentalhealth/documents/brochures/HEARTS(adult%20probation).pdf