Solvista Health will break ground on the Regional Assessment Center for substance use treatment in Salida on Thursday, May 6. The groundbreaking is timed to coincide with “May Is Mental Health Month,” which raises awareness for mental health and addiction recovery.

Solvista Health’s region, including Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Lake, Park and surrounding counties, does not currently have higher levels of care for substance use treatment, causing residents to travel over 100 miles, in some cases, to receive help. The Regional Assessment Center (RAC) will provide services which do not currently exist in the region, such as:

— Acute treatment: Intensive, short-term treatment options for severe mental health and substance use issues.

— Withdrawal management: A safe, supervised  treatment space to withdraw from alcohol and drugs.

— Respite care: A place to comfortably and safely get a break from a difficult situation.

“A 13,000-square-mile donut  hole, smack dab across the middle of our state,” is how Solvista Health CEO Brian Turner described the gap in appropriate behavioral health  services for a massive swath of Colorado. “Our state ranks in the top 10 nationally for alarming rates of drug and alcohol problems, and yet we are also among the highest for unmet treatment needs,” Turner added.

In February 2020, Solvista Health was awarded a $700,000 grant to help build the RAC. The grant was made possible through Colorado House Bill 19-1287, which targeted treatment in rural and frontier counties. The bill was crafted by the Opioid and Substance Use Disorder Interim Committee of the legislature and saw broad bipartisan support, including passing the Colorado State Senate by a unanimous vote.

“Research shows an undeniable connection between substance use, mental health and overall health,” said Turner. “So, we have teamed up with our local partners and community leaders to design an option that will provide an integrated, comprehensive approach.” Over 50 public and private organizations signed on in support of the project across the region, showing stakeholders’ awareness of the problem and their commitment to making local communities healthy, thriving places to live, work and play.

Construction on the facility is set to begin in May, and the goal is to have the project completed by the end of March 2022. The facility will be located on the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center campus in Salida and is an example of the growing collaboration between the two nonprofit organizations.

Planning has been underway largely through the Region 13 Substance Abuse Regional Coalition and will continue with increased engagement and feedback from community members.

Solvista Health is hoping to raise $6.5 million to realize the full vision. Tax deductible contributions can be made by contacting Jill Anderson at 719-275-2351 or or by visiting

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