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catching up with building hope

Catching Up with Building Hope

Two years ago our lifestyles drastically shifted, forming a new reality and approach to our daily lives. Communication and human contact turned virtual, eliminating ordinary gestures like hugs and handshakes, and smiling with our eyes while most of our faces were covered. Friends and family members came into contact with a hidden virus attack, weakening them physically and mentally, often taking them away from us sooner than expected. Jobs and homes disappeared in the blink of an eye, causing additional stresses and burdens on an overly difficult situation. 

To say the last few years were challenging for all is an understatement. It is reported that 4 in 10 adults have expressed symptoms of anxiety and depression since the pandemic started, a significant jump from 1 in 10 adults reporting in January 2019. Building Hope is proud to provide a community-wide initiative designed to create a more coordinated, effective and responsive mental health system. The worldwide crisis of the last two years has amplified the need for these types of services. 

It’s no secret that society is eager to move from pandemic stage into endemic stage, signaling the return to normalcy, or at least some version of that. But how exactly do we get there? According to Brene` Brown on her podcast Dare to Lead, we should expect a transitional phase termed the “Great Awkward.” She recommends being realistic about the uncertainty of the upcoming days and months, and also suggests normalizing our awkwardness. Returning to work, school and human contact after so much time has passed will feel differently for everyone and happen at contrasting speeds. 

It’s hard to believe that Building Hope was only a few years old when the pandemic started, forcing us to mature and adapt to uncharted realities quicker than expected. We have been busy focusing on priorities and ways to help our community through these difficult transitions. Now more than ever we are dedicated to promoting healthy emotional health, reducing mental health stigma, and improving access to care and support for everyone in Summit County. 

Whether you are familiar with the offerings of Building Hope or are new here, we would love to update you on what has kept us occupied over the last several months.

* Our free Connectedness Events remain active, now with a variety of topics and themes in English, Spanish, and Bilingual. These events are a great way to connect with others and become involved in mindful and healthy activities.

* The Hype youth connectedness program for teens ages 12-18 began at the onset of the pandemic and continues to provide various activities in a supportive environment to connect with others. 

* We offer two types of Group Training Events – community training and workplace training. Employers like Breckenridge Grand Vacations and Copper Mountain Ski Patrol have offered evidence-based mental health training for their staff. Companies can choose between Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), and Working Minds training. For the community, we also offer Mental Health and Literacy training for groups like CASA and Meals on Wheels that is specifically tailored to Summit County residents. The class contains lots of relevant information for locals seeking services or information in supporting others with resources. 

* Building Hope is continually working on ways to support Mental Health Providers.  Due to the increased need for therapy services during the pandemic and a diverse list of applicants, providers are also struggling with pandemic challenges, making it difficult to keep up with demand.  

 * The Mental Health Provider Bilingual and LGBTQ incentive programs work with providers that specialize in serving these populations.  Building Hope also recruits providers from the Front Range to provide telehealth and virtual sessions in order to support expanding capacity for all community members including vulnerable populations locally.. La Cocina specifically provides sessions in Spanish, increasing our ability to serve our Spanish speaking population. 

 * Our Mental Health Therapy Scholarship program remains busy providing counseling for people who can’t afford services on their own.

* Staff Training and staying relevant with current events is vital to our endeavors. Recently staff of Building Hope, alongside 20 local mental health providers, participated in the  “Envision: You LGBTQ+ specialization training.” Attendees learned how to support the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado who are living with substance-use and mental-health disorders. Envision:You provides education, training, and resources in the hopes of expanding the availability of culturally affirming treatment services. We also advocate for changes to local- and state-wide policies to advance equity for LGBTQ+ individuals. 

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While the increased need for mental-health services from the pandemic has certainly kept us on our toes the last two years, we are committed to continue our mission and embrace the “Great Awkward.” For more information and statistics about our work, take a look at our annual report – Mental Health Matters 2017 – 2021.

We look forward to seeing more people in person and feeling the benefits from human connections again. Stay tuned for more updates and content coming soon through our monthly Blogs and quarterly newsletters. 

We are all imperfect, so let’s be imperfect together.


Article by Alyse Piburn, special projects writer for Building Hope Summit County. If you have a story to share, reach out to her at alyse@buildinghopesummit.org.

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