Colorado State Representative
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/
Created on Monday, 21 July 2014 11:27
I have contemplated much about billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s characterization of Southern Colorado as being communities that are rural and “don’t have roads”. It amazes me that someone of such education and wealth could be so ignorant.
Southern Colorado, despite some economic challenges (mostly caused by Bloomberg and his long time Colorado political allies) is a vibrant part of the great State of Colorado in its unique diversity and culture.
Southern Colorado is host to colleges, universities, scientific research, industry, art, and most of all: Southern Colorado is home to authentic people who have a love for a rural way of life and western values. Something that I am certain Mr. Bloomberg simply does not understand.
I was born and raised in Southern Colorado, and the pride that I feel about our communities radiates from me in the Colorado State Legislature…oh and by the way…I drive on an interstate to get to the Capitol…paved the entire way I might add. It bothers me to think someone like Michael Bloomberg and his ignorant beliefs about Southern Colorado, has a free pass and immeasurable influence on our Governor, John Hickenlooper. So perhaps this is more of a message to the Governor than it is to “Billionaire Bloomberg”. Don’t allow your close friend Michael Bloomberg to speak poorly or mock Southern Colorado.
So I make this plea to “Billionaire Bloomberg” and our Governor, instead of spending millions of your billions in an effort to influence elections in Southern Colorado, why don’t you spend some time getting to know Southern Colorado. We are cultured, we love art, we send our children to college, we love science, we love nature, we love driving on our roads, and we like recall elections.
In your not so veiled attempt to insinuate that Southern Colorado isn’t what you think it should be…you have FAILED! I’ve taken the liberty of attaching some links for you regarding Southern Colorado and all of the beauty and culture we have to share. Look at that…we not only have roads, but we have the Internet too.
Southern Colorado Culture and Beauty (w/roads)
All of this, and yet there is so much more!
Michael Bloomberg has his money bags and sights set on this race. It's small potatoes for him...but for me...every dollar counts. Would you help my re-election by contributing today?
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