200 people hike for suicide prevention in Grand County
Camaraderie, gratitude and dedication permeated Grand County’s inaugural You Are Not Alone Hike on Sunday at Snow Mountain Ranch as the group trekked toward suicide prevention and awareness.
Event organizers had registered about 115 attendees, but closer to 200 turned out for the event, which featured two hikes, a yoga session, a DJ for song requests, food and several booths from Grand County entities.
With such a high turnout, Grand County Rural Health Network’s Community Engagement Specialist Sara Elise Bristol was beaming.
“Our goal was to give the community what it so rightly deserves, which is an environment where they could heal and come together,” she said. “I’ve heard from a lot of people who were really grateful this exists.”
Another purpose of bringing everyone together around suicide prevention was to help destigmatize talking about personal experiences surrounding suicide, said Amanda Uehlein, GCRHN’s interim director.
Throughout Sunday’s event, Bristol felt as though attendees had a built-in sense of support for one another that really embodied the name of the hike — “You Are Not Alone.”
“The kindness that everyone has shown here has been a really wonderful thing,” Bristol said. “It kind of feels like everyone knew each other here already and had a connection, so I think that’s really special.”
Hikers wearing a variety of colored beads representing their relationship to suicide shared a variety of reasons for participating, including wanting to support community mental health efforts and having personal experiences of loss or suicidal struggles.
“I’ve lost too many friends and family members,” said Monica Fuqua, while wearing silver and purple beads — silver to honor servicemembers or first-responders lost to suicide and purple to honor her friends or relatives who died by suicide.
In addition to honoring loved ones, local mental health resources were highlighted, including Middle Park Health, Mind Springs Health, the Grand County Rural Health Network, a peer specialist for first-responders, private practitioners and the Tame Wellness Center.
Uehlein thanked all of the vendors and volunteers that participated, adding that the hike couldn’t have happened without them.
All of the money raised during hike will go to the GCRHN’s mental health voucher program, which has seen a steady rise in use since the beginning of 2020. Uehlein said the mental health vouchers are the most used of any that GCHRN offers.
Uehlein noted the money raised would help support an expansion of the vouchers program to include a larger income bracket and cover more mental health care visits, which Uehlein noted in turn assists local health care providers.
Uehlein didn’t have a fundraising total for the event on Sunday, but she said that regardless of money, the hike accomplished what it set out to do.
“I think (the event has) been a huge success and it came from a place of true passion and caring since it touches us all personally and some of us professionally,” she said. “We hope for it to grow year after year and touch more people.”
Colorado Crisis Services Hotline —
1-844-493-8255 or text ‘TALK’ to 8255
Mind Springs Health Granby — 970-887-2179
For more, go to healthygrandcounty.org/suicide-prevention-awareness/resources/.
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