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In the News

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Denver’s STAR program successfully sent mental health professionals, not police, to hundreds of calls

Fox5 New York | February 24, 2021

DENVER - Calls for changing how authorities respond to people in distress have resounded across the country amid cases such as that of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died after police in Rochester put an anti-spitting hood over his head and restrained him on the ground while he was having a mental health crisis in March.

Chief Paul Pazen of the Denver Police Department said that changes that have people who specialize in mental health respond to calls that warrant such skills are just common sense.

"I saw the value of it right off the bat. If we’re talking about mental health calls for service, low-level mental health calls for service, that don’t need a police response, then let’s look and see if there are better approaches," Pazen said.

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Denver RTD hires three clinicians to assist customers experiencing mental health issues

Mass Transit | February 23, 2021

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver has hired three new mental health clinicians.

They join Danielle Jones, a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner with the Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD), who started last spring.

Anita Hoffman, LeAnne Figueroa and Mary Kent are also contracted through the MHCD and are assigned solely to RTD. This joint effort with MHCD provides support to customers who may not have access to, or knowledge of, available mental health services.

The clinicians will make contact with individuals who are exhibiting mental health issues within the city and county of Denver.

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Research shows only 1 in 3 Black adults with mental health issues receive care

Denver7 | February 17, 2021

According to research from Columbia University, Black adults are 20% more likely to experiences serious mental health problems, such as major depressive orders and generalized anxiety disorders. And, researchers say young Black adults experience higher rates of mental health problems while using mental health services than their white counterparts.

The disparity highlights the stigmatization of mental health issues in communities of color that has deterred Black men and women from seeking treatment, according to experts.

“Being a person of color and admitting that you need something is very difficult,” said Lesha Groves, a licensed therapist and the associate director of operations at the Mental Health Center of Denver.

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Denver successfully sent mental health professionals, not police, to hundreds of calls

USA Today | February 6, 2021

Another U.S. city is reporting early success with a program that replaces traditional law enforcement responders with health care workers for some emergency calls.

Previously, Denver 911 operators only directed calls to police or fire department first responders. But the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) pilot program created a third track for directing emergency calls to a two-person team: a medic and a clinician, staffed in a van from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.

The STAR program, which launched in June, reported promising results in its six-month progress report. The program aims to provide a "person-centric mobile crisis response" to community members who are experiencing problems related to mental health, depression, poverty, homelessness, or substance abuse issues.

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Mental Health Center Of Denver Sees Increase In Services For Children

CBS4 Denver | February 8, 2021

There are warning signs that parents can look out for as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

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Experiencing trauma from storming of U.S. Capitol is normal — even if you weren’t there, experts say

The Denver Post | January 7, 2021

Ethan Reed, a senior at Parker’s Legend High School, was supposed to be tuned into his virtual classes Wednesday afternoon. Instead, he sat with his family glued to the TV watching a violent mob of Trump supporters break down barricades surrounding the nation’s Capitol and storm the halls of Congress.

The 17-year-old couldn’t believe what he saw. Reed, who is a youth political activist, visited Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2019 and walked the same hallowed halls that were being vandalized. He recently applied to a college near the Capitol with aspirations of going into politics.

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