By Steve Ebner, Citywide Banks
This article is part of a 2017 Mental Health Matters special section published in Denver Business Journal. Click here for more articles. 

Our story in Colorado is just beginning. Business is good and there is plenty of optimism on the horizon. Colorado is in the midst of big growth and modernization. Millennials and other transplants are flocking to our state for the jobs, the recreation, the weather, and the Colorado lifestyle we all love. However, that’s just one side of Colorado’s story.

According to NAMI Colorado, more than a million Coloradans are affected by mental illness. More significantly, nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the past year. Across the country, $192 billion annually in lost earnings is attributed to serious mental illness. According to the Colorado Health Institute, Colorado’s suicide rate ranks a disturbing sixth in the country. Whether it’s the stress to keep pace or the inability to find the right help, we all need to work together to change this story.

Get Involved. Get Inspired.

The good news is that Colorado is home to some of the most knowledgeable, dedicated, and progressive mental health teams in the country. The challenge is that there is not enough manpower or financial resources available to meet the increasing demand. That’s where the community can help.

You can help by reaching out to your family, friends, neighbors, employees, or co-workers that may be in crisis. You can help by knowing the signs and how to respond. You can help by applauding those that ask for help and break the stigma of mental illness.

Our local mental health nonprofits offer a wealth of information resources and healthcare services. Crisis counseling, private therapy, group activities, and many other programs are just a phone call away.

These Colorado nonprofits also provide many different ways to support their work in the community. All accept financial contributions which are needed and may be tax-deductible. Businesses and individuals can participate in fundraising events, charity walks, and other campaigns. Many are in need of volunteers to work events, fill board positions, and participate in committee activities. A simple first step is to start following one or more of these nonprofits on social media.

Why Mental Health Matters

Every business strives to create a happy, productive employee culture. Every parent wants their child to thrive to their full potential. And, every community works to keep its citizens safe. These are just the beginning of a long list of things that are impacted by one another’s mental health. It drives our interactions, relationships, physical health, productivity, and sometimes, even our safety. We are all in this together and interconnected.

For us at Citywide Banks, it’s about finding ways to help move Colorado forward. That means helping businesses grow and contribute to our local economy. We are bankers after all. But, our bank’s foundation is built on relationships and people. We believe an investment in our community’s mental health wellness is a long-term investment in the people and vitality of Colorado. This passion goes back to our bank’s early years. Our co-founder, Vince Schmitz, played an instrumental role in helping to establish Aurora Mental Health Center in 1975. The commitment has only grown from there.

Today, many of our bank’s leadership are active board members on several mental health nonprofits. Citywide Banks regularly supports Mental Health Colorado, Aurora Mental Health Center, AllHealth Network, Mental Health Center of Denver, Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, Behavioral Healthcare Inc., Asian Pacific Development Center, Colorado Mental Wellness Network, Kempe Foundation, Carson Spencer Foundation, Denver Health Foundation, Mile High Behavioral Healthcare, NAMI Colorado, Mental Health First Aid of Colorado, and others.

We thank our friends in the behavioral health community across Colorado for all that they do every day. Please join us in helping support their tireless work that continues to move Colorado forward.

View more mental health wellness articles and community resource directory.