The Teller County Mental Health Alliance, in collaboration with Community Health Partnership (CHP), was awarded a two-year grant from the Colorado Springs Health Foundation to create a Collective Impact infrastructure for the Teller County Suicide Prevention Collective Impact Initiative.
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 LarsonK@co.teller.co.us.
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.
CHP exists to improve the health of the Pikes Peak region. CHP believes that our community is stronger together and serves as the “backbone” organization in a collective impact approach, which allows us to convene and act to improve community health. CHP has served as the backbone for the Collaborative since its inception in January 2020.
About the Teller County Mental Health Alliance
The Alliance’s mission is to support the mental health of Teller County and surrounding communities through improved access to care, increased utilization of resources and a collaborative network providing continuity of care. Started in 2018 as a grassroots effort in response to professional and personal concerns, neighbors and schools and health organizations came together to address the lack of community resources by pooling individual resources and establishing a shared agenda. The Alliance works to take a proactive approach to mental health wellness and suicide prevention.