Published: May. 24, 2022 at 2:40 PM EDT

The end of Mental Health Awareness Month marks the culmination of crowdsourced campaign by Mental Health Colorado

DENVER, May 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, Mental Health Colorado is seeing a final wave of Colorado residents' photos, videos, and descriptions of the real-life ways they care for themselves and find joy, strength, or peace.  At a critical moment for mental health in the state, Mental Health Colorado's "What's Your Peace?" campaign invited all Coloradans to think about the big and small ways we take care of ourselves and how those small moments add up to improved well-being for each of us.

Stewart T. of Denver says he finds his “peace” via moments of mindfulness and gratitude in...
Stewart T. of Denver says he finds his “peace” via moments of mindfulness and gratitude in social situations.(PRNewswire)

It was no surprise that hiking, walking, and being outdoors bring many Coloradans peace. We also heard from knitters, bird-watchers, dog-snugglers, readers, and home cooks about their self-care habits.

The top five practices that bring Coloradans peace are:

  1. Being outdoors (includes hiking, biking, just being in nature, etc.)
  2. Spending time with pets
  3. Spending time with family and friends
  4. Going for a walk
  5. Meditating

"They're not competitive or performative," said Vincent Atchity, CEO of Mental Health Colorado. "Most of these moments never make it to Instagram. It's the restorative or meditative nature of the activity itself that helps us be fully present and keep our balance."

The "What's Your Peace?" campaign comes as Coloradans statewide are struggling with mental health more than ever. A 2021 Colorado Health Access Survey revealed that 38% of Coloradans over the age of 16 experienced a decline in mental health such as anxiety, depression, or loneliness, as the result of COVID-19. And more Coloradans reported poor mental health in 2021 than ever before; nearly 24% of respondents reported eight or more poor mental health days in the past month. At the same time, Colorado has been ranked last in the nation for access to care for adults with mental health needs by Mental Health America.

"Those who can do without formal therapeutic care must become more resourceful and more intentional about self-care," Atchity said. "It's never been more important to create daily habits that serve us in good times and bad, and that's what this campaign is all about."

A full list of recommendations shared by Coloradans can be accessed online at mentalhealthcolorado.org/whats-your-peace. "We hope community members spend time with this list to spark ideas for new ways to improve their well-being with simple daily activities," said Atchity.

Mental Health Colorado's favorite recommendations were:

  • "Slowing down to hear myself breathe and being grateful for being alive."
  • "Service to others — having experienced homelessness, I help others by making and giving bags of supplies."
  • "Wearing T-shirts with positivity statements on them made by my Mom."
  • "Writing haiku."
  • "Looking at the colors outside — the sky, the stars, the grass, the clouds."
  • "Journaling about my anxiety."
  • "For five peaceful minutes each morning I listen to music while looking outside."
  • "Reading in a quiet place."
  • "Being present and working in mini meditations throughout the day."

Mental Health Colorado has been deeply engaged in the behavioral health task force convened by Gov. Jared Polis in 2019. Task force recommendations have resulted in a series of bills designed to fill gaps in services all over the state, with the help of $450 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. Colorado's new behavioral health legislation will eventually make a meaningful difference in the lives of many, but it will take years for these changes to take hold and improve mental health care in our community. The recent campaign is meant to get people thinking about the daily steps that bolster our mental well-being, to carve out time for them with more intention, and to expand our collective toolkit by sharing them with one another.

Coloradans can visit mentalhealthcolorado.org/whats-your-peace to continue sharing the ways they find and create peace in their days, and they can follow Mental Health Colorado on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for mental health tips and resources.

Media Resources – Photos and Video.
About Mental Health Colorado 
Mental Health Colorado's mission is to advocate for every Coloradan who experiences a mental health or substance use condition, ensure equitable access to mental health and substance use care, and end discrimination. With a 68-year history in Colorado, efforts range from the Capitol to the classroom. If you or someone you know needs help, visit mentalhealthcolorado.org/help for resources.

Contact: Wendy Artman, wartman@groundfloormedia.com

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SOURCE Mental Health Colorado

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