Town talks mental health | Norwood Post

At the April meeting of the Norwood Town Board of Trustees, community representatives discussed a full agenda of various items, and some of those were related to mental health.

Town clerk Amanda Pierce told trustees that she’d like the town to receive a special mental health benefit through Triad. It’s a benefit program she’s familiar with, since she received it working for Uncompahgre Medical Center in her previous job. Pierce shared information about Triad, which is extremely low-cost with many advantages. Several employers in the community already offer Triad to their employees.

“It’s amazing for employees’ mental health,” Pierce told the board.

She said the benefit enables those covered to receive three counseling sessions when they have a particular incident come up: divorce, death, a work conflict or something else. The sessions are free to those who are covered.

Pierce said the benefit could cover town staff, but it could also be extended to affordably cover town trustees, too. She said Shelley Fourney, a Norwood-based licensed counselor, accepts the Triad benefit in her practice.

Trustees were supportive of the Triad idea.

Toward the end of the meeting, trustee Jaime Schultz addressed notes she’d brought with her that she’d wanted to share with those in attendance. She first said she’d had no idea about the Triad benefit Pierce spoke of, but felt it was a great option.

“I’d love to see Triad pushed throughout the community,” she said.

Next, her pre-planned board member comments were also related to mental health. Schultz said so much has happened the last few years, with COVID, the harshness of the pandemic, and deaths that have happened in the community and elsewhere.

Schultz said she wanted to see the town discuss mental health publicly with the Norwood community. Additionally, she’d like to see some sort of crisis protocol established, in the event one were needed.

Schultz said she wondered about a crisis hotline, possibly a list of available counselors, and also if there might be some sort of flowchart for an emergency situation. She said perhaps the town board could set a goal to work on the mental health ideas for the next meeting.

She said she’s wondering where the gaps are. She doesn’t want anyone in the community to feel desperate.

Candy Meehan, Norwood’s next mayor who will be installed in May, said a discussion of this type regarding mental health should involve local fire and EMS services. She said the county sheriff should also be included.

Meehan added that the area is also seeing an influx of more dangerous drugs that are surfacing, something that is very concerning to her. Meehan said she worries that there is also a lack of mental health providers locally. She suggested a work session for board members to discuss before bringing ideas to the community publicly.

Kattie Neesham, Norwood’s town marshal, who was in attendance at the meeting, shared that she was a crisis intervention specialist. She’s had the training to deal with community crises.

Currently, the behavioral health fund, established by San Miguel County, does have some monies available for those who apply and qualify to receive support for the cost of counseling sessions. The county can fund an individual for one year to receive support with a local mental health provider, free of charge.

Tri-County Health Network, a local nonprofit, has also made mental health one of its priorities in serving the area.

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