Healthier Colorado is an organization created three years ago by the Colorado Health Foundation, the state’s largest health foundation. Since the creation of Healthier Colorado, the members have been encouraging people to speak up about mental health all over Colorado.
The organization began in September of 2014, as a one person operation, and has grown to include 13 people total today. They plan to expand in order to expand their reach around the state.
In honor of mental health awareness, Healthier Colorado, organized an event called “Gearing Up For Mental Health.” This event is held all over Colorado in order to interact with people in the communities in which the event was held, and to raise the awareness o of the different mental health resources that are available to them.
The event is essentially a public fair, inviting multiple partners in the surrounding area to explain to the public what each different partner can do for them or a loved one they know who needs help. Healthier Colorado also made the event to de-stigmatize mental health problems.
“Unfortunately, it’s still kind of taboo to talk about mental health, which ends up being a barrier to people who are seeking help,” Jake Williams, executive director of Healthier Colorado, said when explaining the event.
The event included a bike parade, where the community was invited to ride around town on decorated bikes, and hoped to make plenty of positive noise to raise awareness for mental health.
The idea to have a bike parade came when Williams witnessed a nighttime bike parade in Boulder. Williams’ liked the concept of a bike parade because it gives people a vehicle to decorate as creatively as they want.
Since the founding of the Healthier Colorado organization, they estimate about 80,000 Coloradans have taken some form of action in one of the organization’s campaigns. These actions include supporting a law, signing a petition or calling a senator’s office.
Healthier Colorado hopes to continue to see success at raising awareness for the resources available and de-stigmatize the issue of mental health.