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Tribute to the Power of Hope November 22, 2014

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Take a look at Mental Health America of Colorado's 2013 Annual Report

In a series of columns for The Colorado Statesmen, MHAC's President &CEO, Don Mares writes about mental health in our community.  Check it out here.

Check out the Latest News from MHAC. This page includes articles we've published and pieces in which we were featured. 


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December 21, 2014

Donald J. Mares Named Executive Director of Newly-Formed and

First of Its Kind Office of Behavioral Health Strategies    

Denver, CO, December 10, 2014  --  It is with great pride and gratitude for exceptional leadership and service that Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC) announces the transition of its president and CEO, Donald J. Mares, to a new role with the City and County of Denver. Today at a press conference Denver Mayor Michael J. Hancock introduced Don as the Executive Director of the newly formed and first of its kind Office of Behavioral Health Strategies.  Don will begin his new job on January 5, 2015.  For four years, Don has led a historic effort at MHAC to improve lives by reducing the stigma associated with mental health, transforming systems of care, and bringing diverse partners together to broker change.

“First and foremost,” said Marty Waters, LCSW, chair of MHAC’s board of directors, “we are tremendously excited by Mayor Michael Hancock’s commitment to improve mental health services for the people of Denver by creating the cabinet-level Office of Behavioral Health Strategies. Mayor Hancock has made a stellar choice by appointing Don to lead this new initiative. MHAC’s board of directors, staff, and partners throughout the state wish Don and his family the very best in this next phase of public service.”

Denver’s new Office of Behavioral Health Strategies will be charged with improving the way Colorado’s capital city approaches a wide array of issues connected to mental health and substance use disorders. Chair-elect of MHAC’s board of directors Charles Reyman expressed the organization’s commitment to being a key part of that process: “We look forward to our continued and expanded partnership with Don and the Mayor’s team as we stand shoulder to shoulder in the work of civilizing conversations about mental health, and improving lives for our generation and generations to come.”

Evan Silverman, MHAC board member and 17-year employee of the Tattered Cover Bookstore, was present along with former Colorado First Lady, Jeannie Ritter. Both expressed their support for the Mayor’s decision, and for Don in his new role.

The staff of MHAC thanks Don for his visionary leadership, his hard work, and his friendship. He will be missed, but his new position means he will remain a key strategic partner for our organization as we advocate for policy change at both the state and local levels. This historic move by the Mayor of Denver, and Don’s role in making it a reality, mark the beginning of a new era of collaboration for mental health.

This effort has tremendous potential to advance MHAC’s mission of building a healthier future, not only in Denver, but for all Coloradans. 

MHAC has appointed Laura Cordes interim President and CEO and will complete a selection process for a new president and CEO.  Laura Cordes has been with the organization since 2012 and currently serves as MHAC’s Vice President of External Affairs and Chief Operating Officer. 


"Tribute to the Power of Hope" Gala a Great Success!
Thank You for Your Support -

DENVER (Saturday, November 22, 2014) – Celebrating exceptional leadership and the Power of Hope, Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC) recognized Colorado College and Colorado Insurance Commissioner, Marguerite Salazar, at MHAC’s “Tribute to the Power of Hope” gala on Saturday, November 22 at the Sheraton Downtown Denver.  Paul Gionfriddo, Mental Health America, President &CEO, was a special guest at this year’s Tribute gala.  Gionfriddo made remarks regarding #B4Stage4, a national mental health awareness campaign that addresses the need for early detection of mental health challenges and disorders before they become chronic health issues.  Another special guest at Tribute was Reggie Bicha, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services.  Reggie gave greetings from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and gave praise for the statewide mental health crisis line that MHAC helped start.


MHAC’s “Tribute to the Power of Hope” netted $450,000.  The money raised benefits MHAC’s programs (Pro Bono Counseling &Referral Service, Check Your Head, Mental Health First Aid, and Brain Trust), as well as public policy/advocacy initiatives at the state and federal levels.

A BIG thank you to all who attended and supported "Tribute to the Power of Hope" gala! 


Mental Health America of Colorado's
 -Strategic Plan-
Broker Change:
to establish equal footing for mental health/substance use disorders in the public health arena.
Reduce Stigma:
to civilize the conversation regarding mental health/substance use disorders to promote an open and welcoming society.
Improve Lives:
to position Colorado as a national leader in addressing issues regarding mental health/substance use disorders.
Contact MHAC should you have questions or need additional information about the Strategic Plan.

Who is MHAC?: Mental Health America of Colorado is the state's leading mental health advocacy organization.  Reducing stigma, transforming systems of care, and improving lives since 1953.

Mission: Mental Health America of Colorado serves the people of Colorado by collaborating with strategic partners to promote mental health, expand access to services and transform systems of healthcare.

Vision: A healthy Colorado free of stigma and discrimination, where every person has full access to high quality services for all mental health and substance use disorders.

Core Values: Visionary Leadership, Collaboration, Inclusiveness, Diversity, Dignity, Respect, Access, Excellence, Recovery, Resiliency

In the event of a Mental Health Crisis:

>Call 911 (always call 911 in a Mental Health Emergency)

>Contact your local mental health center.

>Colorado Crisis and Support Line: 844.493.TALK (8255)  -- 24-hour Emergency mental health &substance abuse intervention services for the State of Colorado. (Formerly Metro Crisis Services)

>Suicide Hotline 844.493.TALK (8255)

>Are you in need of free or low-cost counseling or Information &Referral Resources?

Learn more about MHAC's Pro Bono Counseling &Referral Program and see if you qualify
Contact: 720.208.2238

>Live in the Pikes Peak Region?

Search for a licensed professional in your area

Caring for the Caregiver Resource! 
Check out this comprehensive PowerPoint with a wealth of caregiver resources.

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