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Building A Bridge to Connection

Illuminating Hope & A Path Towards Seeking Help

When we think of the holidays, often the first images that come to mind are centered around happiness and activities that are for the most part positive; decorating the tree, family gatherings, holiday parties, baking, and all the small traditions that are unique to each individual person’s experience. What we often don’t always associate with this time of year, but is just as prevalent is grief, anxiety, triggers, a sense of heaviness in our emotions, and an aura of loneliness. Oftentimes the stigma of what you are supposed to feel, think, do, or behave like keeps us from discussing these subjects for what they are, a normal part of life and especially of the human experience. And if we are legitimately honest with ourselves, these are things that we all experience at some point in our journeys in some capacity.

Because no two people are the same, everyone will have different perspectives on grief, events, healing, and even everyday occurrences based on their history, life experiences and views. Each person’s obstacles or triggers are unique to their autobiography and journey. There is no one-size-fits-all, or one right way to feel, think, or behave, yet we find there is still a stigma attached to this discussion, a division, and a fear of judgment that keeps us from talking about it openly and honestly.

Mental health has become much more of a mainstream topic than it used to be in the last few decades and yet, it is still somewhat of a subject that gets brushed under the rug and kept at arm’s length. We ask how people are, but life gets in the way, distracting us from really listening. Sometimes we hesitate to dig into deeper conversations because we don't want to pry. But the truth is, when people are struggling, it can be difficult to take the first step and be vulnerable. For many, this feels like opening the door to judgment. As we sat down with some of the leaders in Windsor’s mental health community to discuss a subject that is most often undesired, we found that one of the biggest obstacles is to remove the wrapping mental health is so often covered in and #makeitweird. A sort of unofficial, official term coined by The Mermaid Alliance (a non-profit aimed at bringing attention to suicide prevention and awareness in Northern Colorado), sums up perfectly the sentiments within the mental health community. 

Sitting down with some of the leaders from North Range Behavioral Health, IOME, and Mermaid Alliance, our aim was to open the curtain and shine a brighter light on a subject that is so often kept in the dark. There are people who care, places to seek guidance, and most importantly there is help. The mental health journey is one focused not on fixing one another or ourselves, or even on solving a problem but more about showing up with grace, witnessing, and finding a path through the pain towards healing. 

So often we do not get to choose what happens to us in life, but we are able to decide how we want to respond and how we choose to heal and move forward. Knowing that we don’t have to face those struggles alone, makes the burden lessened just by being able to share and know that we are witnessed.  There are many pressures today that didn’t exist even 10 years ago, but just as we evaluate what we consume in our diets, it is equally important to evaluate what we consume mentally and emotionally in our daily lives as well. Evaluating what we absorb into our mental space and taking care of ourselves is paramount in our health, mentally and physically. Ask yourself daily, what you need, reach out to others if you feel they are off, even if it feels like being invasive, dig in and bear witness. We as a family here at Windsor City Lifestyle, along with IOME, The Mermaid Alliance, and North Range Behavioral Health encourage everyone to have those conversations that you feel may be taboo, check in on one another, really listen, remove judgment of yourself and others, and know that there are resources available to you within your community, no matter what the crisis you may be experiencing looks like, you do not have to face it alone. 

Footnote – If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please dial 970.347.2120 (option 2). Crisis services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. All the organizations listed above, North Range Behavioral Health, IOME, & The Mermaid Alliance are incredible resources available to seek connection, community, and help, you never have to face the pain alone. 

  • North Range Behavioral Health
  • Kim Collins of North Range Behavioral Health
  • Ashley Braund of IOME
  • Becky Lauridsen Founder of IOME
  • The IOME Windsor Team photographed by Candace Lostroh
  • The IOME Windsor Office
  • North Range Behavioral Health Windsor Ribbon Cutting
  • North Range Ribbon Cutting
  • Members and supporters of Mermaid Alliance attend the 2023 Gala for Alliance for Suicide Prevention