FY2021 Report to the Community

FY2021 Report to the Community 

 

FY2021 Report to the Community 

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We are excited to share with YOU – our donors, community partners and friends – Mental Health Center of Denver statistics, expressions of appreciation to our supporters, and community impact stories to keep you informed.

Late Fall 2020/Early Winter 2021 Edition

Late Fall 2020/Early Winter 2021 Edition

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Innovation Technology Lab Marks First Year

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Digital Front Door Budget

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*Commitment already invested.
**Grants funded by Colorado Health Innovation Community, Office of eHealth Innovation & Rose Community Foundation

Last year, the Mental Health Center of Denver became the nation’s first – and only – behavioral health center to launch its own innovation lab. Innovation labs are more commonly associated with edgy companies that focus on bringing new ideas, products and services to market. Why did MHCD decide to “boldly go where no mental health center has gone” and launch an innovation lab?

According to Alires Almon, Director of Innovation, “MHCD’s Innovation Technology Lab may be unique in the mental health space, but we are tackling universal issues that impact the entire industry. I’m proud of our organization for recognizing that fast tracking technology and innovations can accelerate more equitable access to care.”

Almon, who was brought on board to run the Lab, believes the first year has been extremely fruitful. Through its Innovation Engine process, the Lab reviewed 30+ prospective innovations and projects and has six in production. Almon is especially pleased that two are ‘staff-engaged projects,’ meaning staff brought these ideas to the Lab. “Innovation is a team sport,” Almon noted.

Early in the new year, the Innovation Technology Lab will launch You@Yourbest, a new 24/7, online platform created to help people who are not in service but interested in improving well-being to set goals, explore personalized and curated resources and engage with MHCD.

“We believe You@Yourbest can significantly broaden our reach and help move the starting line forward for people who might need services,” said Almon. This will further expand the organization's Digital Front Door and introduce MHCD to more people in the community.

Another important goal of MHCD’s Digital Front Door is to expand access to behavioral health services. Approximately one in five people in the Denver area has a mental health disorder and of those only 40% receive the help they need.  According to a report recently issued by the Colorado Office of eHealth Innovation, funded by the Colorado Health Institute, 84% of mental health services have been provided via telehealth during the pandemic, so the need to expand access via technology has never been greater.

One of the critical barriers to expanding access to services is the fact that the behavioral health workforce has been shrinking over time. For every psychiatrist that enters the field, two more are retiring. To begin to close the access gap, we need to leverage technology to reach five times the number of people through our Digital Front Door.

Are you, or someone you know, interested in finding out more and providing funding to help us to build the Digital Front Door?

Contact Vice President & Chief Information Officer Wes Williams at wesley.williams@mhcd.org or Director of Philanthropy Stephen Edmonds at stephen.edmonds@mhcd.org

Community Partnership Highlight

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When restrictions due to COVID-19 hit our community last spring, the effects of safer-at-home and stay-at-home orders hit the hospitality industry hard. Hotels stood largely vacant, restaurants shifted from dine-in to take-out and caterers were faced with cancelled events. While the majority of Epicurean Catering’s staff had to be furloughed, the remaining management and culinary staff got busy creating new pick-up and take-out options. Only weeks into what has now become months of the pandemic, Epicurean Catering owner Larry DiPasquale reached out to the Mental Health Center of Denver to see what they could do to help the people we serve. He and his wife, Jill, had been introduced to the work of MHCD in the fall of 2019 as guests at our Gifts of Hope event.

To assist residents at MHCD’s supportive housing complex, Sanderson Apartments, Epicurean donated and delivered a full meal, sized to provide leftovers for an additional meal, to each of the 55 residents once a week for a month. The weekly deliveries by Epicurean staff were eagerly anticipated by residents. As restrictions continued over the months, the Epicurean team also made several deliveries of freshly made quart-size containers of tasty soups for each of the residents. This provided tenants with something extra in their refrigerator or freezer to enjoy and helped their meal budgets go farther, as some of the residents have experienced job furloughs and layoffs.

Founded in 1984, Epicurean Hospitality Group remains committed to its core values of excellence, innovation, integrity, teamwork, smart growth and community. We thank Epicurean and its owners and staff for demonstrating their commitment to the well-being of others during these challenging times.  

Gifts of Hope

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More than 230 people joined us on October 7th for our first-ever virtual Gifts of Hope – Limitless – celebrating all the ways Mental Health Center of Denver continues to push past boundaries to increase access to services. Originally scheduled as an in-person lunch event, COVID-19 precautions, including the need for participants to be socially distanced, required that we pivot and hold the event via Zoom. 

Presentations during the first half of the hour-long event were prerecorded while the breakout sessions in the second half of the event took place in real time.  Attendees learned about telehealth services, our pharmacy program, 2Succeed in Education & Employment and our Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program. Event sponsors and donors contributed $82,000 toward the work of the organization.

Colorado Gives Day

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December 8, 2020 marked the 10th year for Colorado Gives Day in Colorado.  A total of 2,828 nonprofits in the state benefited from an outpouring of generosity totaling $50 million. 

We are especially grateful to the 143 donors who contributed over $39,000 to the work of our organization.

Coming Up

Along with soon welcoming a new year, our community will also welcome the opening of the Behavioral Health Solutions Center, Denver’s first Crisis Stabilization Unit, Crisis Triage Center and Transitional Housing Unit all in one facility. 

Located in the Sun Valley neighborhood near 10th & Federal Boulevard, the Solutions Center is a collaboration between the City and County of Denver and Mental Health Center of Denver. It will provide first responders with an alternative to taking individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis to hospital emergency rooms or jails. Look for more information around the opening in our next Report to the Community.

Summer 2020 Edition

Clinical Case Manager Katie Healy Cox delivers medication to people we serve. 

Summer 2020 Edition

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Clinical Case Manager Katie Healy Cox delivers medication to people we serve. 

Mental Health Clinicians Partner with Denver Police

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The Today Show covered the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program, an initiative in which mental health professionals from our organization partner with paramedics to respond to 911 calls that are low-risk. 

Ramping Up Mobile Outreach & Services

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The pharmacy team wears masks and practices physical distancing outside of the Recovery Center.

Meeting people where they are has taken on a new meaning in the time of COVID-19. As many people served by the Mental Health Center of Denver and the community went into quarantine for COVID-19, the Mental Health Center of Denver switched most of its services to virtual delivery. This presented new challenges to provide services that must be in-person, such as long-acting injectable prescriptions.

The organization’s Nursing, Pharmacy and Strategic Community Partnerships teams came together to brainstorm solutions to deliver these injections in the safest way possible. Although the Mental Health Center of Denver has plans underway for a new mobile program, that vehicle was not yet ready for use.

An opportunity emerged to partner with the City and County of Denver’s Wellness Winnie, an RV launched in February 2020 that provides behavioral health and support services throughout Denver. The city and Mental Health Center of Denver mobilized quickly so that nurses could go out on the Wellness Winnie to deliver the injectable prescriptions safely in the neighborhoods of people served. Although the city soon had to shift the use of the Wellness Winnie for COVID-19 testing, this joint effort deepened relationships with the city and created important learning to inform future mobile services. In the meantime, the Nursing team continues to find creative ways to provide injection prescriptions safely; as of the end of June they delivered approximately 1,300 injections at the Recovery Center and nearly 200 injections in the community.

As the Mental Health Center of Denver continues to navigate changes and uncertainty, the organization is ramping up capacity to increase community access through mobile services in the ways that the community wants them. The new mobile program set to launch this Fall will be a flexible space to engage with the community and offer a variety of well-being and mental health services.

Our Response to COVID-19

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The Mental Health Center of Denver began providing remote services March 16, 2020, due to COVID-19. Since then, we have altered our operations to ensure the people we serve continue to get what they need. We plan to continue providing remote services through September 20, 2020.

Highlights from Our Response to COVID-19

  • The pharmacy has performed more than 200 curbside and walk-up COVID-19 tests at the Recovery Center and made home deliveries with more than 11,200 prescriptions since March 16, with the assistance of case managers. COVID-19 testing is available by appointment at the Recovery Center until August 27. Call 1-800-451-7449 to reserve a time or click here
  • The Adult Resource Center worked with case managers to deliver more than 4,600 emergency food boxes, in addition to other food box services at Dahlia Campus. 
  • We launched Well-Being LIVE, a virtual series of free events led by our experts on a wide range of topics related to well-being, from meditation and nutrition to self-care and parenting tools. 
  • Resources, such as self-care tips, a guided meditation from President & CEO Dr. Carl Clark and suggestions for talking to your children about COVID-19 are available on our COVID-19 webpage

Employee Hardship Fund

An exciting new initiative to be born out of COVID-19 is the Mental Health Center of Denver Employee Hardship Fund.

Established as a separate tax-exempt nonprofit organization, its purpose is to serve as an employer-sponsored relief fund for current and future employees experiencing financial hardships. Eligible employees are part-time and full-time regular status employees who have been with the organization for at least one year.  The maximum grant award is $1,000 and an individual may not receive more than three grants during their tenure with the organization.

The recently formed board of the Employee Hardship Fund is working to finalize the grant application process and those details will be announced shortly.  Mental Health Center of Denver will provide administrative and operating support to the Fund.

Employees will have an opportunity to contribute to the Employee Hardship Fund as part of the Give.Go.Grow employee giving campaign. The Mental Health Center of Denver will match 100% of employee contributions. Non-employee donations may also be made to the Employee Hardship Fund. If you are interested in making a donation, please contact the Director of Philanthropy at 303.504.6758.

Staying Connected Through Telehealth Services

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Since the beginning of COVID-19, the Mental Health Center of Denver has been committed to ensuring that most services that previously took place in-person could and would be offered through telehealth options. 

Within days of safer-at-home and stay-at-home orders, clinicians were equipped to meet the increasing mental and physical health needs of our community. At the same time, we were also learning that many people who benefit from our services did not have the necessary technology devices to effectively access services through our digital offerings. 

Utilizing various communication and donation channels, solicitations were made for both new and used equipment, as well as funds to support these items. To date, more than 140 computers and 110 smartphones and tablets have been distributed to people we serve so their well-being plan could continue uninterrupted. 

Getting technology devices into the hands of the people we serve who would not otherwise have access to the vital services we provide continues to be a high priority. Through a strong partnership with the nonprofit PCs for People, we can purchase a computer for a person we serve for around $100. There is also a high need to provide financial assistance to cover the $45 per month cost of basic internet access. If you would like to help support keeping people we serve connected to well-being services, please consider a gift to our Well-Being Assistance Fund.

Thank You to Our Donors!

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Denver Post Top Workplace Award

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The Mental Health Center of Denver has been named a Top Workplace by the Denver Post eight years in a row! We believe that people are resilient - they can and do recover from mental illness. At the Mental Health Center of Denver, we hire people dedicated to working toward that goal.

Emerson St. Keeps Young People Engaged & Enriched

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During recent months, weekly well-being groups at Emerson St. for Teens & Young Adults have met virtually. The staff at Emerson St. for Teens & Young Adults has creatively adapted to the current physical distancing demands by bringing tactile enrichment groups to them. Because groups that do arts, crafts and cooking, for example, require specific items for all participants to use, the Emerson St. staff has put together boxes of these items and delivered them to the young people’s homes prior to these groups. This allows them to participate at home while engaging with others in the group through video meetings. 

Some virtual groups can be done without tangible items, such as exercise, discussion or mindfulness groups. All of these weekly groups are vital to keeping the young people we serve involved. One of the young people we serve said, “I wish I could see people in person, but this is a good alternative. I don't have to leave these groups an hour early to go to work, so I can stay for the whole time."

Once per month, groups will now be meeting in person, physically distanced, on the front lawn of Emerson St. for arts and crafts, games or discussion groups. This is important for the young people we serve who find it difficult to engage with one another virtually, who may be experiencing homelessness, or who do not have the technology required to participate in virtual groups.

Enrichment, engagement and enjoyment are the goals for these prevention-level groups that introduce some to Emerson St. and enhance the clinical experience of others. These groups have been a great way for some young people to learn more about the Mental Health Center of Denver and the clinical services they can receive at Emerson St. Young people tend to feel more comfortable receiving therapeutic services in an environment that is familiar and fun. For the age group served by Emerson St. – 15-26 years of age – this wholistic model of treatment has been very successful. In fact, other community organizations such as Urban Peak and Mile High Youth Corps have partnered with Emerson St. so that the young people they serve may also benefit from its services and utilize the expertise of Emerson St.’s staff.

By making a gift to Emerson St. for Teens & Young Adults, you are helping to ensure that these groups are sustained through this time of physical distancing and that the young people we serve remain involved and engaged. Financial contributions to Emerson St. also ensure that the staff can be flexible and creative with the materials they need to purchase to adapt to ever-changing circumstances. Make a gift to Emerson St. for Teens & Young Adults.

Save the Date: Gifts of Hope 2020

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Gifts of Hope is Limitless in 2020! Please plan to join us between noon and 1:00 p.m. on October 7 for our virtual fundraising event. Details coming soon.

We are grateful for our annual sponsors, Citywide Banks and OptumCare, as well as our Well-Being LIVE event sponsors, Cigna and Colorado Access.

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CO Access