Letter: A broad network of support | AspenTimes.com

Letter: A broad network of support

As the founder and director of the Aspen Strong Foundation, I appreciate the feedback of Cavanaugh O'Leary in his letter on Jan. 4 ("Work together on mental health," The Aspen Times).

I agree that "suicide prevention is not an area where we need competing efforts and egos." Our website reads: "Each aspen tree within a colony is connected by a single root pattern that thrives beneath the surface of the soil. The Aspen Strong Foundation aims at creating a community that cultivates interdependence and strength, replicating its very own, the aspen tree."

The Aspen Strong Foundation is intended to function as an umbrella organization promoting mental hygiene and connecting mental-health resources. AspenStrong.org assists our community to additionally find mental-health resources that exist — without bias — to make a connection to the sources of support they need and to feel they can be vulnerable, too.

As the founder, I have worked to establish a name for the Aspen Strong Foundation that has integrity and represents our mission. In addition to our online resources, last fall, the foundation's Hike Hope Heal event raised $25,000 for the Mental Health Fund, which supports our community in receiving subsidized treatment. Additionally, in partnership with Aspen Valley Hospital, the Rose Community Foundation, the Aspen Hope Center, Mind Springs Health, Roaring Fork Neurology, the Aspen Community Foundation's Betty Jane Schuss Fund and Aspire Recovery for Women, the Aspen Strong Foundation has pioneered the first mental-health symposium in Aspen. I think it's fair to say that the foundation has met an undoubted need for our community in collaboration with other community organizations.

To further illuminate our support of and collaboration with the community, the Aspen Strong Foundation has financially supported the Aspen Hope Center's Hockey for Hope and Pathfinder's Forever Love in 2015. Moreover, the Aspen Strong Foundation website that launched in early 2014 always included our crisis page, encompassing the Aspen Hope Center, Mind Springs Health, Crossroads Church, Metro Crisis Line and the National Suicide Prevention Line. Moreover, our crisis page is a major link to our recent mental-health screening initiative that will be promoted by the following organizations: Mountain Family Health, Roaring Fork Neurology, the city of Aspen, Pitkin County, the Aspen Police Department, The Aspen Clinic and the Valley Health Alliance. Additionally, all sources of support to mental health and addiction from Aspen to Parachute are welcome to create their profiles on the Aspen Strong Foundation directory or listing support on our community calendar. The Aspen Hope Center has registered to begin this process, and we are deeply looking forward to its site being published.

In final, the Aspen Strong Foundation has made all efforts to have healthy relationships with all mental-health providers and agencies. The Aspen Hope Center and Mind Springs Health have been organizations that the Aspen Strong Foundation has been in connection with since its inception.

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I thank you, Mr. O'Leary, for giving this attention and allowing the Aspen Strong Foundation the opportunity to make our efforts more clear to our community.

Christina M. King

Founder and director, Aspen Strong Foundation

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