Colorado State Representative
Created on Thursday, 16 October 2014 19:16
October 16, 2014: Statement By Representative Clarice Navarro
The recent news of Ebola reaching the United States is very troublesome and even resulted in the death of a man in Dallas, Texas. Ebola is a very serious threat to the health of our citizens and with the ability of individuals to travel so easily, it could be only a matter of time until the Ebola virus reaches Colorado.
Constituents throughout Colorado House District 47 (Fremont, Otero, Pueblo) have expressed their concerns to me about a potential outbreak. The Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently stated that the Ebola virus threat is not urgent and that action plans are being discussed. However, our state needs to prepare for this threat before it becomes widespread.
Southern Colorado deserves the same education and training opportunities that have been given to residents in the Denver area. This isn’t just an urban threat but a statewide one. In recent legislative sessions, there has been an urban/rural divide. This is not the time for political theatre. It is time to make sure public safety remains one of the top priorities throughout the entire state.
This week I have sent a letter to Governor John Hickenlooper expressing my concerns and the concerns of Southern Colorado. Southern Colorado deserves a strong voice in the legislature and I will continue to be that strong voice for the people of Southern Colorado. This is the time for leadership that takes action and does not sit around waiting for tragedy to hit.
Created on Monday, 22 September 2014 10:52
Created on Thursday, 04 September 2014 19:56
Created on Thursday, 04 September 2014 20:00
By Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff and Don Mares
Guest CommentaryPosted: 08/22/2014 06:22:25 PM MDT
When members of the Colorado General Assembly and Mental Health America of Colorado learned that Robin Williams had died by suicide, we were saddened. His kindness and passion for helping those in need moved us. His portrayals of teachers, healers, fathers and friends who used the experience of their own struggles to help others will be a source of inspiration always.
Williams had severe depression, and worked to stay in recovery from substance abuse. His passing moved people around the world to share personal stories about mental health and suicide.
In 2012, at least 1,053 people died by suicide in Colorado. We have the eighth highest suicide rate in the nation. Working-age men are most at risk of dying by suicide, but the highest rate of suicide attempts is among teenage girls and young women. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Coloradans ages 10 to 35.
These people are our parents, children, friends, classmates and coworkers. The trauma and grief we experience as individuals after a loss to suicide ripple through our communities. Together we feel the urge to turn our mourning into something that can help prevent these tragic deaths.
Our attitudes and how we take care of each other are essential to improving our mental health and preventing suicides. Each of us can be a part of prevention by helping to end the stigma against mental illness and substance abuse.
Mental health conditions, including substance abuse, are brain disorders that affect our emotions, thinking, behaviors, and ability to function. They are not character flaws. They are health conditions that can be treated, and recovery is possible.
Struggling with depression or substance abuse is not a sign of weakness. When someone with a mental health condition dies of suicide, it is not because they are selfish or do not care about themselves and others.
The stigma against mental health causes fear, secrecy, and shame. One in three Coloradans experience mental health conditions each year, but people fear a mental health diagnosis will lead to being labeled, judged, and discriminated against by loved ones and society. This fear does not always go away when people receive treatment. That is what makes stigma so dangerous. Even when someone is trying to get better, stigma can still cause hopelessness and isolation.
Each of us can take simple steps to help end stigma.
Start by using person-first language. We all experience health issues, but we are not our diagnoses. We do not call people with cancer "the cancerous." Apply that to mental health. Do not say "the mentally ill," say people with mental illness. This small change has a big impact.
Talk about it. Bringing our own mental health stories into the light of day is powerful. It helps the person who shares, and it helps those who listen realize they are not alone.
Educate yourself and others about mental health. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid, an eight-hour certification course that is like CPR for our brains. You can find a training session in Colorado near you by visiting www.mhfaco.org.
Appropriate interventions during a mental health crisis can lead to recovery. If you or someone you know are in crisis, call Colorado Crisis and Support Line at 844-493-TALK (8255). This public service offers free and confidential counseling and referrals 24 hours a day.
Ending stigma means understanding that mental health is health. It is part of all our lives. When we end stigma as individuals, we erase the fear of admitting we need help or reaching out to loved ones who might be struggling in silence. If we end stigma together, and address mental health conditions with the same urgency that we have other illnesses, we can save and improve countless lives.
The greatest tribute to the inspiration Robin Williams gave us all is to work together to end stigma and take better care of each other and ourselves.
Clarice Navarro-Ratzlaff is state representative for House District 47. Don Mares is president and CEO of Mental Health America of Colorado.
Original article: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_26389428/suicide-and-stigma-against-mental-illness
Created on Friday, 22 August 2014 11:08
GMO - Genetically Modified Food
The cost for Proposition 105 is something that every farmer will have to pay for, and that cost will then be passed down to consumers.
Currently we have already been feeling the pains of rising food prices, and this would only add to That. In many instances non-GMO plants require more water and more pesticides, which all have significant costs. The costs that are associated with Proposition 105 will severely hurt our farming community, especially smaller family owned farms.
It is clear when reading many science and health publications that GMO labeling is unnecessary. The American Association of Science, the World Health Organization and the European Union all agree that GMOs are just as safe as non-GMO foods. Proposition 105 simply creates misconceptions about GMOs and does not educate people about GMOs.
This type of law is currently in effect in places like Connecticut and Maine, which Colorado is not at all similar to. The people of Colorado will vote on Proposition 105 this November. This vote will decide whether we will continue to develop an immensely beneficial technology or shun it on unfounded fears.
The voters in Colorado should not be fooled by this "wolf in sheep's clothing".
GMO Science Articles - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/labels-for-gmo-foods-are-a-bad-idea/