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Colorado seems like an idyllic place to live—between the mountains, the sunshine, and the laidback attitude that flourishes here, it’s easy to understand why more and more people (especially young adults) are making the Centennial State home.
But Colorado has historically ranked toward the top on a more negative scale: suicide rates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report, the Centennial State reported the eighth highest suicide rate in the country in 2013 (the most recent year for which full data is available). Whether it’s the altitude or the pressure to be fit and slim, Coloradans seem to be facing an uphill climb when it comes to mental health.
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The Chicago-based Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) understands this, which is why it’s making Colorado Springs the first stop on its multi-city tour, titled “I to We” (as in switching the focus of mental illness from an individual burden to a collective responsibility). From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the El Paso County Citizens Center, six local mental health organizations—including Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention and AspenPointe—and DBSA will offer an educational presentation on de-stigmatizing mental health; a networking lunch that connects patients, practitioners, and government officials; and a fair featuring more than 50 exhibitors full of resources. Mental health advocate and award-winning author Melody Moezzi, who wrote a memoir about her experience with depression and bipolar disorder, will make a special appearance.
“People living with mood disorders can and do live extraordinary lives,” DBSA president Allen Doederlein says, “but each of us must play a critical role in creating a future where wellness is no longer a possibility for only some, but a probability for all.”
The DBSA’s “I to We” tour will stop at the El Paso County Citizens Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Rd., Colorado Springs. For more information, visit DBSAlliance.org/ItoWeTour.
Follow Mary Clare Fischer on Twitter at @mc_fischer.