At the time MHAC was founded, 1953, it was becoming socially acceptable to promote mental health and the humane treatment of people residing in state hospitals, but the focus was not recovery.

The stigma around mental health was palpable and those with mental health conditions were not helped or addressed. Things like depression or anxiety were not considered a sickness and it was just assumed that one’s mental health was controllable, or else one afflicted lived in the shadows, hiding their condition from their neighbors, co-workers and family.

We’d like to think we’ve come a long way in 60 years, but only recently have there been strides in bringing mental health out of the shadows and into the bright light where we can see and treat it. Three in 10 Coloradoans are in need or mental health or substance abuse disorder treatment in any given year. Colorado ranks 32nd in the nation for the amount of public sector mental health spending.  Colorado ranks 6th in the country for the number of suicides each year.  There is a significant shortage in the number of mental health providers in the state. Until very recently, veterans returning from service were looked upon as “weak” if they admitted that their traumatic experiences had a long-term affect on them.

Mental Health America of Colorado makes it their mission to work on rectifying these things. In this 60th anniversary year, MHAC looks back at accomplishments and goals, and also challenges for the future. MHAC is using this 60th anniversary mark as a celebration, to look positively toward the future. The annual Tribute event is October 26, 2013. A gathering of supporters and advocates gathered at Cherry Hills Country Club to kickoff the Tribute season.

Visit www.mhacolorado.org for details or to learn about other programs and assistance.