Letter: Work together on mental health

Work together on mental health

I am writing in regard to the article in your Dec. 27 edition “Aspen Strong to offer services combating suicide.”

While I applaud Aspen Strong’s idea, it seems to be a complete duplication of effort with the Aspen Hope Center and creates competition for valuable dollars to support the truly necessary efforts for suicide prevention in this valley. Aspen Hope Center is already well-established in this area. It has even created a cutting-edge outpatient-monitoring program in response to the widespread lack of mental-health beds that is being looked at by, and received accolades from, mental-health organizations and providers from around the country. However, like many nonprofits in this valley, it struggles to get the funding it needs to carry out its existing programs, much less expand them. Suicide prevention is not an area where we need competing efforts and egos, as it will be those in need who suffer. Aspen Strong does not even list the Hope Center as a partner, which clearly raises questions. Christina King should have approached the Hope Center first to identify an area where it needed help and then worked to fill that need, not go into direct competition with an already well-established and functioning organization that has received national attention and local praise from our law enforcement agencies, Aspen Valley Hospital and mental-health providers throughout this valley and beyond. Is more help needed? Absolutely, but let’s work together, not compete, to help those in need.

Cavanaugh O’Leary