Students outside

Colorado Mountain College students spend time outside. The college recently received the Healthy Minds designation from the Colorado Department of Higher Education for its ongoing mental health and wellness programs.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education recently awarded Colorado Mountain College a Healthy Minds designation, recognizing the college’s ongoing work in addressing the mental health needs of its students.

“It’s wonderful to acknowledge the important work campuses are doing to support student mental health and well-being,” said Lisa Doak, Colorado Mountain College (CMC) assistant vice president of student services.

For Lisa Runck, Ph.D., associate dean for student affairs at CMC Spring Valley at Glenwood Springs, the Healthy Minds designation recognizes the college’s longstanding commitment to students’ mental health and wellness needs.

“CMC has been actively engaged in these efforts for at least a decade,” Runck said. “When we provide support for the student, we’re not only helping our student, but possibly that student’s family and the larger community. The ripple effect creates positive outcomes in many ways.”

CMC is now one of six colleges and universities in the state to receive the designation. Of the higher education institutions earning a Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) Healthy Minds designation, only CMC is a dual-mission college, meaning it offers certificates and associate’s degrees in addition to bachelor’s degrees.

To qualify for the designation, CMC submitted an 11-page report in response to CDHE’s Healthy Minds Campus Checklist. The checklist identifies efforts at Colorado’s higher education institutions that offer ready access to mental health information and services, online and free counseling, innovative wellness programs and more.

Collegewide, CMC’s initiatives include YOU@CMC, a one-click online confidential student website that offers tips and tools for managing mental and physical health. CMC also provides faculty sessions on how to address and make referrals regarding mental health and wellness issues in the classroom, in-person and virtually.

Individual campuses also incorporate mental health and well-being support into their activities.

For example, among other tactics, CMC Leadville and CMC Salida maintain a partnership with SolVista Health for student referral, counseling and therapy both virtually and in-person.

In addition, during September and October all of CMC’s campuses participate in a campaign promoting mental health and well-being. Activities, workshops and community events are held encouraging awareness, support and tangible take-aways to address well-being.

The college is also planning a spring 2022 campaign to promote awareness and discussion around resiliency. The campaign will encourage individuals and communities to strengthen the ability to cope and respond to adversity through an interactive process.

“It’s so important that Colorado higher education institutions are stepping up to help their students and communities, and we encourage others to do the same,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Colorado is breaking down barriers and stigmas and making it easier for students to focus on learning by providing mental health services.”

Currently, 61 percent of Colorado’s adult population has a higher education credential. The state’s strategic plan, called Colorado Rises, calls for 66 percent of adults to earn a college certificate or degree by 2025. Designations such as Healthy Minds are supporting students in achieving this goal. To learn more, visit https://highered.colorado.gov/social-determinants-of-student-success.

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