COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Health Foundation Board of Trustees recently awarded $4.5 million in grants to 67 organizations serving El Paso and/or Teller Counties.
Several of these grants are multiyear in nature. These grants address one or more of the Foundation’s funding focus areas:
- Access to care for those in greatest need
- Suicide prevention
- Healthy environments
- Trauma and resilience
These funding focus areas were developed and refined based on the Foundation’s mission, local needs, stakeholder input and insights, and the evidence behind what influences community health. “We are honored to invest in the health of our region. We express our sincere gratitude to the organizations doing the difficult and important work of ensuring that everyone in El Paso and Teller Counties has the opportunity to reach their full health potential,” said Jim Johnson, Board Chairperson.
Solutions to complex public health problems like suicide are often most successful when organizations coordinate efforts so that partners can channel their resources to the same goals, avoid duplicating efforts, and enhance each other’s work to produce lasting social change. To this end, the Alliance has partnered with CHP as a backbone organization in the Collective Impact model to leverage their existing grassroots organization into a more formal community infrastructure. Collective Impact is a successful model for establishing trust and relationships between people and organizations and for creating leadership development and a culture of learning.
Key findings from the 2018 Teller County Community Health Assessment indicated that the top four Tier 1 health concerns are in rank order:
1) behavioral and mental health
2) substance use and abuse
3) access to care
4) injuries and violence
Colorado has struggled with a significantly higher suicide rate than the national average for many years. Prior to the pandemic, suicide was the 5th leading cause of preventable death in Teller County and according to the Teller County Coroner, the suicide rate in 2020 grew by 56%.
CHP will serve as the fiscal agent, and a Project Manager will be hired and work in donated space at the Ute Pass Regional Paramedic Services.
Current partners Involved in the Teller County Mental Health Alliance are Teller County Public Health & Environment, UCHealth Pikes Peak Regional Hospital, Ute Pass Regional Paramedic Services, Diversus Health, local behavioral health providers, and local community agencies including the Community of Caring Aspen Mine Center, Community Partnership Family Resource Center, local school districts, and the Colorado Community Health Alliance. Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Karissa Larson at 719-649-3154 or [email protected].
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please contact the Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.