Department of Agriculture and CDHS release rural mental health documentary and resources

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BROOMFIELD (May 20, 2020) — Today, the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), announced a new collection of outreach materials specifically focused on behavioral health resources for Colorado’s rural communities.  

The toolkit is the result of a partnership between the two agencies to promote Colorado Crisis Services, the statewide behavioral health crisis response system offering residents mental health, substance use or emotional crisis support, information and referrals. 

Gov. Jared Polis, Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg, CDHS Executive Director Michelle Barnes and the Walter family of Trinidad all spoke during the live Facebook event, highlighting the need for awareness of the farmer suicide crisis and lack of mental health resources available in rural Colorado communities. In Colorado, the rate of suicide per 100,000 people was 22.1 in urban areas and 27.7 in rural areas in 2018, according to the Colorado Health Institute. The group also underscored the importance of reducing the stigma associated with reaching out for mental health support.

The event featured a new short documentary that tells the story of the Walters, a ranching family in southern Colorado, who lost a family member to suicide. “I never imagined I’d lose my dad in this way,” said family spokesperson Jacob Walter. “It’s important that people know it’s OK to not be OK. My family and I hope this documentary encourages others to reach out for help.”

The documentary, as well as two 30-second video public service announcements (PSA), a radio PSA, web advertisements, posters and wallet cards are included in the new toolkit of outreach materials. All items are provided in Spanish and available for download on the CDA website. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help dealing with one, call the Colorado Crisis Services toll-free number 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 for free, confidential, 24/7 counseling support.  

Media contacts:

Mary Peck, Public Information Officer
Colorado Department of Agriculture 

Madlynn Ruble, Deputy Director of Communications
Colorado Department of Human Services