by Dulari Patel, BCH Intern from Texas A&M University

In the second presentation of a five-part series on mental health issues in our community, area experts, including our own Valerie Lipetz, MD, provided an overview of mental health concerns in Boulder County.

The free community health lecture series on mental health is a partnership between BCH, Mental Health Partners and the Boulder & Boulder Valley Rotary Clubs.

Recent Boulder County Public Health surveillance data and a community survey indicate ongoing challenges with mental health in our community. More than 11 percent of adult residents said their mental health was not good at least 8 of the past 30 days and 37 percent of our older adults reported feeling depressed. Among our high school students, almost 5 percent had attempted suicide.

In addition to discussing the alarming statistics for mental health for our area, Susan Motika, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Boulder County Public Health, spoke about the future Public Health Improvement Plan for Boulder County. This plan includes three main topics that will be targeted: Prevention in Early Childhood; Access to Services from Provider and Community Perspective; and Breaking the Cycle between Emergency Rooms and Jails.

Following her presentation was a panel featuring Dr. Lipetz; Jennifer Leosz, MSW, LCSW, Vice President of Clinic Care at Mental Health Partners; and Jamie Smalley, MA, LPC, counselor with Student Support Services at Boulder Valley School District.

Dr. Lipetz discussed the current focus and future plans for Boulder Community Health to address mental health. Current measures includes solution-based therapy in clinics, additional screening for depression, and having knowledgeable staff that is trained in mental health/first aide. Future plans for BCH include the Mental Health Endowment, empowering mental health patients along across the continuum of care, and the Della Cava Family Medical Pavilion, an innovative 70,000 square foot space tailored to meet the needs of mental health patients, opening early 2019.

With mental health being a prioritizing topic for Boulder County, initiatives are being taken by multiple organizations take part in the “county-wide commitment to improving the mental health in Boulder County,” Motika said.

Click here to view PowerPoint slides from Susan Motika's presentation.

Join us for our next free presentation in our mental health series focusing on “Healing from Emotional Trauma” on March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Boulder Jewish Community Center (6007 Oreg Ave).