May 14, 2017 – In honor of Mental Health Month, GJEP invited Sharon Raggio, President & CEO of Mind Springs Health, to share with us why it is vital to the welfare of our community to invest in mental healthcare efforts:
When left undiagnosed and untreated, mental illness and addiction produce a substantial socioeconomic burden, and that burden is growing. In mental illness and/or addiction’s most severe manifestation, suicide is completed; the ripple effect this causes permeates our community on all levels.
A report published by the Harvard School of Public Health and the World Economic Forum found that mental health conditions were the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) worldwide and that mental illness costs are expected to more than double within a span of 20 years. While these numbers seem discouraging, there is much hope. The report points out that our health spend is not primarily consumption, it is investment – one that produces an attractive rate of return.
Investing in mental illness and addiction diagnoses and treatment provides our community with a great opportunity. We can prevent lost work years, increase productivity, decrease spending on health care consumption and most importantly: we can save lives. Another youth suicide need not be the topic of discussion at our PTA meetings and school assemblies when we know that investment in mental health care can make a substantial difference.
On the western slope and in the mountain towns of Colorado, Mind Springs Health and West Springs Hospital are making moves to lessen the socioeconomic burden of mental illness and addiction. In our flagship capital campaign Building Sanctuary | Rebuilding Lives, Mind Springs Health intends to raise enough capital to nearly double the size of West Springs Psychiatric Hospital, allowing us to help twice as many people who are suffering from severe mental illness.
The expansion of West Springs Hospital will have special accommodations for adolescents to address the alarming spike of youth suicides our community is home to. They say children are the future, and we must put actions in place now that address the rise of mental illness and addiction our communities are witnessing. West Springs Hospital’s expansion is the start of that progress – now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work making mental health and addiction recovery care a priority in all our communities.
 Bloom, D.E., Cafiero, E.T., Jané-Llopis, E., Abrahams-Gessel, S., Bloom, L.R., Fathima, S., Feigl, A.B., Gaziano, T., Mowafi, M., Pandya, A., Prettner, K., Rosenberg, L., Seligman, B., Stein, A.Z., & Weinstein, C. (2011). The Global Economic Burden of Noncommunicable Diseases. Geneva: World Economic Forum.
About the Author
Sharon is the President and CEO of Mind Springs Health. She joined what was then known as Colorado West in March 2008. Prior to joining Mind Springs Health, Saron served as COO at Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group. She holds a license as a Professional Counselor as well as a Marriage and Family Therapist and has a Master’s in Business Administration.
Photos courtesy Mind Springs Health