PHOTOS: ‘Gearing Up for Mental Health’ event features community bike parade, wellness fair

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — On Saturday, August 19, Healthier Colorado joined the community at Bonforte Park to highlight the importance of mental health care services and increase awareness of local resources.

Healthier Colorado’s advocacy event “Gearing Up for Mental Health” featured a community bike parade to raise awareness for mental health, followed by a free wellness fair including fun, family-friendly activities including face painting and a smoothie-making bike.

Attendees also got free lunch and information about local and statewide mental health and wellness resources.

This is one of three “Gearing Up for Mental Health” events in Colorado aimed at raising awareness of the need for behavioral and mental health services.

“Losing access to mental and behavioral services can be a life or death issue,” said Jake Williams, executive director of Healthier Colorado. “As policymakers debate the future of health care, we must ensure mental and behavioral health services don’t fall through the cracks.”

Despite Colorado’s ranking as one of the healthiest states in the country, the state does poorly in several key national mental health indicators. Most notably, Colorado is consistently in the top 10 states for the number of people who commit suicide. El Paso County has nearly double the rate of suicide hospitalizations compared to Colorado and a 15 percent higher rate of suicide mortality (26.1 per 100,000 in 2014). The state’s rate of drug overdose deaths also exceeds the national average.

Learn more about Healthier Colorado here.

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