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Conversations about Mental Health in a Time of Crisis

Gwen Ferguson, Public Information Coordinator for Solvista Health, relayed this story to Ark Valley Voice.

Solvista, with six locations in central Colorado, offers primary physical medical care, behavioral health services including mental and emotional health and recovery services for treatment of substance and alcohol addiction. This year, in addition to other challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of fear and uncertainty.

The woman, age 50, told a Solvista client and family advocate in July, 2020: “You have changed my life.”

“Just three months ago I was homeless. I was living by a creek when I talked with your staff member at the homeless shelter. He took time and care talking with us. He didn’t mind that we were filthy and smelly. He just listened to these poor, hungry people talk. We even had to ask him for his card because he wasn’t pushing things on us,” she added.

Multi-facted problems meant multiple resources had to be directed to provide assistance: a care manager, a clinician, a nurse practitioner and a supported employment representative have all been involved helping ‘Mary’ find solutions and cure her despair over her life situation – even when her wallet was stolen.

“My clinician has encouraged me to change, we talk weekly, she has been my cheerleader. I just get so much from her. She taught me to be grateful through journaling and retraining my brain, even at 50 years old! Her encouragement is just beyond words.”

Solvista Health is in the planning stages to move its Salida clinic to the HRRMC campus. Courtesy photo.

“My care manager has been working with me on housing to help me have hope of finding a place,” she continued. “I was living by a creek but even now I have a shelter. My camper has no running water, but I can feel safe. She encouraged me when my wallet was stolen and helped me to get a new ID and birth certificate. She ALWAYS calls me back when she says she will. I am so thankful for her care.”

Mary’s testimonial reflects her new-found positive attitude and gratitude for the ongoing care and support she’s received.

“My supported employment representative is helping me find work. I used to earn $80,000 a year and lost it all due to schizophrenia. This program has helped me to know that it isn’t the end; I can survive and be okay. I know I will be okay thanks to Solvista Health. I have never in my life seen people so determined to help.”

“My nurse practitioner has helped me so much to get things managed and makes me feel heard. I thank her so much for that.”

Perhaps in a strong contrast to complaints voiced by some over COVID-19 restrictions and ruined travel plans through this unprecedented pandemic year, ‘Mary’ says that she is earnestly grateful for the help she’s received on her continuing journey to getting her life back.

“I cry each and every day, but now they are happy tears,” she stated. “I wanted to die, but now I want to live. I am not done with my journey by far, but I know my clinician will be there and the others at Solvista and it lifts me up. You all have really saved my life. There just aren’t enough words to thank you and give enough credit for all that you have done for me.”

Solvista Health is the newest member of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Colorado Spirit Program. The program provides free COVID-19 counseling and support to local communities. The pandemic has caused massive impacts both economically and emotionally on many creating the need for additional support.

Visit to read more OnEdge interviews about people’s struggles with the impacts of what life has brought their way, and their paths to overcome the challenges.

Editor’s Note: Whatever you’re going through, crisis counselors and professionally trained peer specialists are available to help. Call Colorado Crisis Service hotline at 1-844-493-TALK(8255). There is no wrong reason to reach out.