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By Mountain Family Health Centers

Mountain Family Health Centers would like to congratulate Chris Lindley on becoming the Executive Director of the new nonprofit Eagle County Behavioral Health. Chris was previously Director of Eagle County Public Health.

A range of organizations and government offices are working to address a behavioral health crisis in Eagle County, where seventeen people died by suicide in 2018. 

One of those organizations working to improve services is the Katz Amsterdam Foundation was founded in 2018 to address behavioral health in communities where Vail Resorts operates. In May, Mountain Family Health Centers Development Director Garry Schalla attended a two-day behavioral (mental) health conference hosted by the Katz Amsterdam Foundation. Mountain Family is honored to be a recipient of a grant from the Katz Amsterdam Foundation in 2018, which helped fund a Licensed Professional Counselor on License/License Addiction Counselor based in Eagle County.

About the Katz Amsterdam Foundation

The Katz Amsterdam Foundation believes that emotional well-being is essential for people and communities to thrive. The Foundation strives to be a catalyst for eliminating the stigma of mental illness, increasing access to behavioral and mental healthcare and improving the quality of care for all.

Mental health is a critical component of our overall wellbeing (sic). Even though one in five Americans struggles with mental illness, many hesitate to seek treatment because of the social stigma associated with therapy, financial burden or, quite simply, they aren’t sure how to find quality care in the first place. In rural mountain communities, access to care can be even more difficult. Often there are not enough providers to serve those in need, and the more intimate setting can create a barrier to finding help because of the familiarity of a smaller population. Many mountain towns are experiencing challenging outcomes in mental health, such as Eagle County where emergency room visits for anxiety and depression rose 360% (from 63 to 290) between 2013 and 2018.

Despite the peaceful and picturesque landscape of our mountain communities, many who call them home struggle with their emotional and psychological wellness. Regardless of geography, mental health issues don’t discriminate.

There should be no shame or obstacles to seek treatment for yourself or a loved one. The Katz Amsterdam Foundation aims to tear down the barriers that prevent community members from securing the support they deserve in order to live their best lives. Those who need assistance and treatment should be able to easily access quality healthcare and services, regardless of where they live.

  • Approximately one in five adults in the U.S. – 43.8 million, or 18.5% – experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • 60% of adults with a mental illness did not receive mental health services in the previous year.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
  • As of May 23, 2019, HRSA had designated 2,738 mental health professional shortage areas in rural areas. It is estimated that it would take 1,866 practitioners to remove these designations.
  • In 2016, suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals. between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.       
  • In 2016, there were more than twice as many suicides (44,965) in the U.S. as there were homicides (19,362).

For more about the Katz Amsterdam Foundation, click here.