Contact: Betsy Casey

Community Events

Community Events


  • Building Hope provides monthly events for the community to offer support for people looking to improve their mental health. Check out the calendar of events for details.

Building Hope

Working to build community, support and access to care in the areas of mental health. FIRC is proud to be the new home to this initiative.

Building Hope Initiatives

  • Provide community connections to promote emotional health. The monthly events provide a safe and healthy space to reduce isolation and build relationships.
  • Provide scholarships through FIRC for mental health services to make care more accessible.
  • Offer a central source for mental health information, resources and providers.
  • Provide mental health trainings for the community and workplace to reduce the stigma around mental health.
  • Improve mental health access for Spanish-speakers
  • Work with mental and physical health providers to integrate care and coordinate treatment for patients
  • Build a pathways map to illustrate how different people of different ages and cultures navigate and access the system with the goal of eliminating service gaps

Building Hope Summit County is a community wide initiative designed to create a more coordinated, effective and responsive mental health system that promotes emotional health, reduces stigma, and improves access to care and support for everyone in Summit County. BUILDING HOPE WEBSITE

Summit County is in critical need of increased support for mental health services. When compared to other Colorado communities, Summit County regularly has elevated rates for substance abuse and a variety of mental health indicators. In the last year alone (2015-2016), Summit County’s suicide rate more than doubled, as did the number of residents reporting poor mental health days in the last 30 days. Summit County continues to lead the state in the number of adults reporting binge drinking in the last 30 days. In the two year period from 2014 and 2016, the number of hours per month spent in mental health holds in the jail increased by 2,000%.

Despite these astonishing statistics, community resources to address mental health concerns are limited. While a core of high quality programs and services exist, they are not sufficient to ensure that all residents have access to quality mental health services. The issue of stigma about mental health issues also creates a barrier for those in need.

In 2016, several well-known Summit County locals took their own lives. Included among these individuals was Patti Casey, a long time Breckenridge resident with deep roots in the community. In honor of her life, Patti’s family created the Patti Casey Memorial Fund to provide the initial support for the Building Hope initiative. With the support of Tim Casey, long-time Breckenridge resident, The Summit Foundation convened a large group to launch this important community effort.

To address Summit County’s mental health challenges, a broad based community planning process was initiated in June 2016. Over 60 community leaders came together to explore current needs and to commit to designing a long term, sustainable solution to the community’s mental health needs. Four active committees formed in the planning process: Stigma Reduction and Public Education; Access to Care and Service Integration; Leadership and Fundraising; and Steering (the Steering Committee is currently providing oversight to the Building Hope effort but will disband once a formal advisory committee is established).

The need for a community champion and administrative structure for the initiative was identified early in the planning process. To that end, Summit County Government has committed to hosting a coordinator position. The position will be housed in the Summit County Public Health office and will be supervised by Director of Public Health Amy Wineland, Nd. The Summit Foundation will serve as the fundraising arm and will manage a donor advised fund that is dedicated to this effort. A community based advisory council will oversee the work of the Building Hope initiative.

Building Hope’s planning committees are currently in the final stages of designing initial three-year strategies. Provided below are the three committees including their goals and major action plans.

Stigma Reduction/ Public Education Committee:

Goal Statement: Create a coordinated public information and education campaign targeting both youth and adults that reduces stigma and provides education and resources about mental illness.

Proposed Strategies:
*Create a robust Building Hope website that provides local resource information, screening tools, support group calendars, profiles of local mental health providers, and a peer connection portal that will allow residents to connect and support with one another.
*Launch the Faces of Hope Campaign within the local community. The campaign will work with Summit Daily News to publish a series of photos and stories about local residents who have been impacted by mental health. Follow up home receptions will take place after articles are published.
*Implement an on-going stigma reduction and suicide prevention campaign using local media outlets to target general misconceptions related to mental health
*Develop an extensive menu of community based training opportunities for youth and adults to learn about mental health via evidence based programs such as ASIST, Signs of Suicide, Mental Health First Aid, Working Minds and QPR.
*Develop workplace training seminars for major employers to provide education, resources and peer based support programs.

Access to Care and Service Integration Committee:

Goal Statement: Develop a more coordinated, comprehensive and accessible system of support for all residents struggling with a broad spectrum of emotional needs.

Proposed Strategies:
*Provide training and resources to local medical providers on the benefits of integrated care protocols.
*Expand the Peer to Peer support model currently utilized at Mind Springs Health to include responsive peer support for residents in need of non-clinical care.
*Increase the use of mental health screening tools in non-traditional settings such as law enforcement, social services, and the workplace.
*Continue to assist in community planning efforts to develop a locally based Crisis Stabilization Unit
*Create a mental health care voucher system to provide a minimum of three visits to residents who experience barriers to care including cost, culture or preference.

Community Leadership and Infrastructure Committee:

Goal Statement: Create the community infrastructure and funding support to successfully implement a wide array of short and long term strategies in Summit County designed to reduce stigma and improve access to mental health care.

Proposed Strategies:
*Hire a full time Building Hope coordinator to be housed in Summit County Public Health.
*Establish a Building Hope Community Advisory Council to provide oversight, advocacy and fundraising support.
*Identify baseline measures for local norms and attitudes related to mental health in Summit County.
*Act as a convener and facilitate community conversations and solutions to mental health needs that surface throughout the community.
*Develop coordination prevention and support efforts through partnerships with local, state and national groups such as Mental Health Colorado, the National Alliance for Mental Illness and the Suicide Prevention Action Team.

Building Hope is committed to measuring its impact over time. Measuring social norms and attitudes is a long term goal of the effort. In the short term, the following measures will be achieved:

*Increase the number of formal educational opportunities related to mental health resources and support techniques that are provided to the general community and in the work place.
*Increase the number of informal settings where the mental health issues, stigma and resources are discussed.
*Increase the number of media articles, ads and other media postings related to mental health resources.
*Increase the number of Peer-to-Peer support sessions provided.
*Increase the number of local primary care providers using integrated care practices.
*Increase the number of residents with access to counseling services via a voucher system.
*Reduce the number of mental health holds in the jail.
*Reduce the number of Emergency Room admissions for mental health and substance abuse crises.
*Reduce the number of attempted and successful suicides.
*Reduce the number of youth expressing depression, anxiety or suicide ideation.

Improving the mental health system in Summit County is a long-term process that will require complex solutions and the engagement of all sectors of the community. Building Hope is poised to lead the community in this crucial exploration of mental health needs and expansion of available services.

Building Hope is currently seeking support for a three-year pilot project. Three year project costs are estimated to be $900,000, or $300,000 per year. Financial support is being sought from all sectors of the community, including: The Summit Foundation; Summit County Government; The Towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne; Centura St Anthony’s Summit Medical Center; Breckenridge Grand Vacations; Vail Resort; Copper Mountain Resort; and private donors. Additional grant funds are being sought from The Colorado Health Foundation and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Betsy Casey, 970-376-1412,