Changing the Conversation for Mental Wellness Month

January is Mental Wellness Month and advocates are using it as an opportunity to start a conversation on cultivating mental wellness throughout our lives.

Vincent Atchity, CEO of Mental Health Colorado, tells KGNU that they’re raising awareness about the need to foster mental wellness practices from childhood all the way through our senior years.

Listen to the interview below: 

“So we’ve articulated a framework that describes all of the places across a lifespan where we can be doing better to support mental health outcomes, starting with a strong start for all children,” says Atchity.

Mental Health Colorado is supporting legislation at the state house in the current session that would require teachers to take a course in mental health as part of their license renewal.

Atchity believes, “one of the key things we can do as a community is making sure that our educators, that are our front line of providers of support and care for children, that they are well-informed about recognizing people‘s mental health needs and able to provide or refer them to appropriate supports for their mental health needs.”

At the other end of the life spectrum, Mental Health Colorado is also concerned about what’s happening with seniors in our society.

“We are all going to face the deterioration of our physical processes over the course of our mortal lifespan, which is to be expected, but we can also be aspiring to wellness.”

Atchity says he’s heard from law enforcement officials that a growing demographic in jails are seniors who appear to be struggling with dementia.

According to Atchity, this is because “we do not have a system of care or long-term residential care that can accommodate folks with dementia adequately enough.”

Mental Health Colorado has a lot of resources around mental wellness at their website, mentalhealthcolorado.org.