Landslide

Democrats and Republicans shared a victory yesterday. There’s a sentence you don’t often see. But that’s what happened last night in Eagle County. More than 10,000 people in Eagle County experience a mental health or substance use disorder each year, yet the county dedicates no resources to treatment. A bipartisan coalition set out to change that, proposing a tax on the sale and production of recreational marijuana. The result: nearly 74% of voters supported Issue 1A. We’re proud to have been part of the winning team. But we have far more work to ...

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Eagle County voters approve marijuana tax to fund mental health programs

by Randy Wyrick EAGLE COUNTY — Eagle County has its own marijuana tax, following months of proponents jonesing for it. Ballot Issue 1A won in a landslide, with support from more than 73 percent of voters. "Eagle County voted to save lives. It was a bipartisan effort to put this over the top," said Andrew Romanoff, CEO of Mental Health Colorado. The tax on recreational marijuana could generate an estimated $2 million annually for county coffers. Of that, the first $1.2 million is supposed to be spent on mental health and substance abuse programs in the Eagle River and ...

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Colorado ski-resort county hopes to tax pot to fund mental health services

By David O. Williams When Eagle County Public Health and Environment director Chris Lindley moved up to the Vail Valley from Denver a few months ago, he was stunned to learn his new home doesn’t have a single bed for people dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues. “Being new to the county and coming up here from Denver, I’m shocked that in a community as wealthy and with as many resources and in this beautiful natural environment that we lack the mental health resources for the people that live and work here,” said Lindley, who worked for the ...

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No waiting

“Is this likely to get better anytime soon?” At a meeting in Eagle on Tuesday, a commissioner asked me whether her county should wait for the federal government to improve mental health care. Two days later, the President issued an executive order that jeopardizes coverage for mental health and substance use services and for Americans with preexisting conditions. “Madam Chair,” I replied, “I’d say if you’re waiting for Washington to help, this will be a very long meeting.” The good news: Eagle County isn’t waiting. The commissioners approved a ...

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World Mental Health Day Presentation

World Mental Health Day Presentation from Eagle County Government TV on Vimeo. Andrew Romanoff, President and CEO, Mental Health Colorado discusses his organization's mission to advocate for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

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Proponents of Eagle County marijuana tax say, if passed, it will provide a mental health-funding model for all of Colorado

EAGLE — Suicide kills an American every 12 minutes — 44,000 Americans every year and 10 in Eagle County so far this year. "Think about that," said Andrew Romanoff, with Mental Health Colorado. "If someone attacked the United States and killed an American every 12 minutes and wiped out 44,000 of us in the course of a year, we would declare war." "In some ways, we have declared war, and this is a war we can win," Romanoff said. Romanoff was in Eagle on Tuesday, Oct. 10, to help proponents kick off their campaign for 1A, the ballot measure that would institute county...

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Removing barriers to mental health care access

What stops Coloradans from getting the mental health care they need? You can learn a lot by asking them. That's one of the things we've been doing over the past 18 months, as part of a statewide listening tour. A new report from the Colorado Health Institute confirms what we've heard. The report shows that more Coloradans than ever have health insurance. But an estimated 380,000 Coloradans, including 51,500 in El Paso County, still go without mental health care - figures that have barely budged over the last four years. The single biggest barrier: cost. More ...

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Summit County could be leader in fight against mental illness, says president of Mental Health Colorado

By Jack Queen Last year, a record 13 people died of suicide in Summit County, which translates to a rate three times higher than the national average. That disturbing reality has caught the attention of local officials and advocacy groups, who are working to improve access to care and change the way people think about mental illness. That energy has contributed to some tangible results, including a recent announcement by the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health that a crisis-stabilization unit will soon be coming to Summit County. Last week, the OBH came to Frisco as ...

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Cha-ching

The Graham-Cassidy bill—a last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare—died this week. But one of its sponsors delivered a remarkably revealing eulogy. Sen. Lindsey Graham lamented not only the series of legislative defeats but also the toll they had taken on his party’s finances. “Online giving went down 40 percent after we failed on health care,” he told Politico. “Pledges went down 60 percent.” Graham wasn’t the only lawmaker to fret about the politics of health care reform; he was just the most candid. He described GOP donors as his “employers.” ...

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National suicide prevention week highlights growing suicide rate

By Nicole Brady DENVER -- September 10th through 16th marks National Suicide Prevention Week. Colorado has one of the highest rates of suicide in the nation, averaging about three deaths from suicide every day. Mental Health Colorado President and CEO Andrew Romanoff lost his cousin to suicide in 2015. Since then he has made it his mission to spare other families the anguish his family has experienced. "What gets me up in the morning the notion that we don’t have to accept the status quo--we can do something. In fact, we could make Colorado a national leader in the ...

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