Thursday, April 19, 2018

Are You Interested in Increasing Your Agency's Capacity to Address Mental Health?

Check out this new funding opportunity from SAMHSA for Mental Health Awareness Training.

"The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2018 Mental Health Awareness Training grants (Short Title: MHAT). The purpose of this program is to: (1) train individuals (e.g., school personnel, emergency first responders, law enforcement, veterans, armed services members and their families) to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, particularly serious mental illness (SMI) and/or serious emotional disturbance (SED); (2) establish linkages with school- and/or community-based mental health agencies to refer individuals with the signs or symptoms of mental illness to appropriate services; (3) train emergency services personnel, veterans, law enforcement, fire department personnel, and others to identify persons with a mental disorder and employ crisis de-escalation techniques; and (4) educate individuals about resources that are available in the community for individuals with a mental disorder. It is expected that this program will prepare and train others on how to appropriately and safely respond to individuals with mental disorders, particularly individuals with SMI and/or SED.Eligibility

Eligible applicants are domestic public and private not-for-profit entities. For example:

State governments and territories (the District of Columbia, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau).
Governmental units within political subdivisions of a state, such as a county, city or town (e.g., local education agencies, law enforcement agencies, fire department agencies, emergency medical units).
Federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes, tribal organizations, Urban Indian Organizations, and consortia of tribes or tribal organizations.
Community- and faith-based organizations, including those that serve veterans, armed services personnel, and their families.
Public or private universities and colleges....
Anticipated Total Available Funding:  $15,801,221

Anticipated Number of Awards:  Up to 126

Anticipated Award Amount:  Up to $125,000 per year

Length of Project:  Up to 3 years

Cost Sharing/Match Required?:  No

Proposed budgets cannot exceed $125,000 in total costs (direct and indirect) in any year of the proposed project.

Friday, April 13, 2018

We All Play a Role in Strengthening Families

Social connections are a powerful way to ensure strong relationships at home. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, during the past 12 months, 1 in 5 Colorado parents reported there was no one they felt they could turn to for day-to-day emotional support in raising children.

We all play a role in strengthening families, one of the best ways to prevent child abuse and neglect. Learn what you can do at Anyone concerned about the safety and well-being of a child should call the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437). Calling to share concerns can mean a family gets the support needed to overcome difficult circumstances.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Black Mamas Matter: Black Maternal Health Week, April 11-17

The United States is the only country where maternal mortality rates are on the rise, and black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. The Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) is a Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance stepping up to put forward solutions to this issue that is impacting our communities in a big way. Take a look at their toolkit for advocates and consider joining the cause during the week of April 11-17.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month!

Lieutenant Governor and CDHS Staff Kick Off National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the Capitol

We all play a role in strengthening families to help prevent child abuse and neglect!
1 in 5 Colorado parents say they feel like they have no one they can turn to for day-to-day emotional support in raising children. It's part of the reason advocates, organizations and elected officials join together each year to raise awareness.

DENVER (April 3, 2018) — Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) staff joined community partners, county leaders and advocates today to kick off National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the State Capitol. The occasion reinforced the importance of individuals and communities working together to keep kids safe and families healthy.

The event also featured remarks by community members such as a librarian, a local business owner and the founder of a unique moms’ group to highlight the fact that everyone can play a role in strengthening families, which is one of the most effective ways to prevent child abuse from happening in the first place.

These individuals emphasized how a single person can make an extraordinary difference in the lives of both kids and families. Some examples they highlighted of ways individuals, businesses and communities can support families include:

  • A family member offering to babysit so parents can get a little break
  • A friend or neighbor shoveling snow or raking leaves for a young family to lighten their load
  • Recreation centers hosting playgroups
  • Local libraries offering story times for young children
  • Employers allowing for flexibility with schedules when possible

"We all play a role in strengthening families," said Lieutenant Governor and Chief Operating Officer Donna Lynne. "I encourage every adult to get involved to prevent child abuse and neglect, even if you are not raising a child or working with families."

Click here to read full article!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Updated Opioid Overdose Prevention Program Dashboard!

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New in this version:
Updated 2016 data for most tabs
New tab on opioid prescription indicators
Results for Health Statistics Regions, including the largest counties having county results

This is a soft launch, because a county/regional tab needs to be added, which will make it convenient for local coalitions to get their info, rather than having to select their county from each of the separate tabs. Our working deadline is to have that available by June 1.

In August,  the data and the national definitions for opioid overdoses treated in the emergency department and during hospital stays (based on ICD-10-CM codes) will be available for 2016 and 2017.

Friday, March 30, 2018

WEBINAR: Local Health Policy 101: Understanding Ordinances, Resolutions, and Proclamations

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Our partners at the Network for Public Health Law are hosting the following webinar: 

Local Health Policy 101: Understanding Ordinances, Resolutions, and Proclamations

April 19, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MST

Reviewing and updating public health laws and policies is an essential part of public health. At the local level, this task falls to boards of health, health departments, city and county governments, and their legal counsel. All of the players must understand their role and their legal authority. The presenter will discuss resources and strategies for researching law and policy at the local level, and highlight examples of legal and policy innovations in small- and medium-sized communities, as well as in the nation’s largest cities.

Learn more and register for the webinar here

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Berthoud High's Student-Led Suicide Prevention Program Expanding To Other Northern Colorado Schools

Berthoud High's Student-Led Suicide Prevention Program Expanding To Other Northern Colorado Schools
Posted: 16 Mar 2018 12:10 PM PDT

File photo of high school students participating in a "trusted adult exercise" during a Sources of Strength training in August 2017.

In 2016, a streak of student deaths prompted action within the Thompson School District in Larimer County. As the national conversation around student safety and gun violence grows, officials there are planning to expand a successful suicide and violence prevention program.
The program, Sources of Strength, trains students to recognize when peers exhibit early signs of depression or potentially violent behavior. More than 60 students from Berthoud High School, located south of Loveland and the district’s fourth-largest high school, have been through the program.

District staff is planning to extend it to all five of Thompson’s high schools this spring.

Raquel Ramirez, the district’s school health professionals coordinator, said the program’s success is dependent on that training empowering students to help each other.

“I think there’s a lot going on in our youths’ lives,” Ramirez said. “And ensuring that our kids are taking care of themselves and knowing signs or knowing ways that they can also help their peers -- I think that’s really important.”

One Berthoud student died in April 2016 by suicide, according to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department. Another was murdered that June. But an incident later that fall was the tipping point, Ramirez said.

On November 3, 2016, a 15-year-old Berthoud High School student took his father’s AR-15 from an unlocked case at home. According to a Larimer County Sheriff’s report, the assault rifle was loaded with a 30-round magazine.

The teen broke into the high school through a door on the south side of the building, early in the morning before the school opened.

No one was present in the school at the time of his entry, according to the report. Later that morning, Sheriff’s deputies discovered the student’s body in a small loading dock bay before other students arrived.

The student had fatally shot himself.

News crews came and went. Berthoud High’s principal at the time resigned.

Student Kimberly Blough said she began to question what could be done better to address mental health at her school. She was a freshman at the time.

“It’s not just dealing with a bad incident when one happens,” she said. “It’s trying to prevent them and making the culture overall more welcoming.”

Blough’s hopes led her to go through Berthoud High School’s first Sources of Strength training session, offered to students in March of 2017. She and 23 other students who went through the training were certified as official peer leaders.

The program’s main goal is to get a school’s greater student body to incorporate frank discussions about 8 key sources from which students can derive strength and meaning in life: medical access, mental health, family support, positive friends, mentors, healthy activities, generosity and spirituality. The task of incorporating the strengths falls upon a devoted group of peer leaders.

At Berthoud, where the student population tops 700, the leaders, including Blough, meet bi-weekly to organize random acts of kindness, school wide events and fundraisers -- all while taking a watchdog-like approach to catching signs of mental illness within their friend groups.

A second training held February 2018 certified 43 new student leaders.

“When you interact with peers (as a leader) you just help them by making (the interaction) positive,” Blough said. “If someone’s having a bad day you can compliment them and let them know they have positive things going for them, even if it is a bad time.”

Sources of Strength cites 8 "sources" for students to draw strength from: medical access, mental health, family support, positive friends, mentors, healthy activities, generosity and spirituality.

The expansion of the Sources of Strength training comes amid parent outcry towards the school district’s policies for handling student deaths and violent acts.

In August 2017, Teresa Brunner, the parent of a Thompson Valley High School student who died by suicide, criticized the district at a school board meeting for failing to do enough to prevent incidents.

“We have to do more, and we don’t have time to waste,” she told the Loveland Reporter-Herald in an interview. “School districts have suicide, but we have so many.”

Staff at Berthoud High say the Sources of Strength trainings have addressed parents’ concerns.

The front of Berthoud High School in Berthoud, Colorado. The high school has a student body of about 700 students and is the district's first to have students go through the Sources of Strength training program.

Berthoud English teacher Allison Lanter said the improvements to student awareness have been both immediate and lasting. The day after the first training in 2017, two peer leaders came to her to share concerns about a friend who was exhibiting signs of depression.

“That first step from kids that might not have come to me or anyone initially down the line could have saved their friends life,” she said.

The Sources of Strength organization, which has offices in Lakewood, near Denver, and Bismarck, trains students in hundreds of middle and high schools across the country. Base level trainings cost $5,000 per school, with additional components such as community and parent trainings costing extra, according to the organization’s website.

The Thompson School District will need to find alternate sources of funding to keep the program going. The grant that is currently funding the trainings at Berthoud runs out sometime next year, according to the district.

The district does not release official statistics on student deaths to the public. Since the trainings began, there have been no reports of student suicides at Berthoud.

WEBINAR: Suicide & Maternal Depression

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 from 12:00 - 1:00pm MST

Please join us for this third webinar of the ICRC-S 2018 webinar series. In this webinar, M. Camille Hoffman, MD, MSCS, of the departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine will discuss national efforts to improve maternal safety, her research on maternal depression and suicide, and opportunities for early identification in health care settings of women at risk of self-harm. This presentation will review Colorado’s data on maternal depression and self-harm rates and discuss national data on maternal depression and suicide, strategies to address maternal depression by Colorado and other states, and also explore the implications for researchers and health care practitioners. Participants will be able to ask Dr. Hoffman questions.

2018 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse.

Take Meds Back helps residents of Colorado safely dispose of unused and expired prescription medications. Safe disposal keeps meds like opioids, sedatives, and stimulants from being misused or abused. It also helps protect Colorado’s precious environment and wildlife.

The best way to get rid of medication is to take it to the nearest secure collection box. Communities, pharmacies, and government and law enforcement agencies are working together to install secure drop boxes across Colorado. Click the link below to find the prescription medication collection box closest to you!

Learn how and where to safely dispose of your unused medicine at

Monday, March 26, 2018

Children's Hospital Colorado: Now hiring a Safe Kids Colorado Coordinator!

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Children’s Hospital Colorado has an opening for Coordinator of the Safe Kids Colorado Springs coalition.

This full-time position, classified as “Prevention Education & Outreach Coordinator, Senior” will be based at our hospital in Colorado Springs, a city of nearly half a million residents. Responsibilities for this position, which will be part of the larger Injury Prevention Program led by Colorado’s only ACS-verified Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, include coalition leadership, strategic engagement with partner organizations, community education and outreach, event planning, and other functions consistent with a comprehensive hospital-led injury prevention program.

Additional responsibilities will evolve within our population health strategy and will require engagement with a variety of community entities, including school districts, primary care practices, state and local government, and non-profit organizations. Demonstrated experience in the Core Competencies for Injury and Violence Prevention are essential.

Interested parties should apply at  Search for job #58761

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Safe States 2018 Annual Meeting - Call for Abstracts

Safe States Call for Abstracts: March 23 - April 19

Share Your Expertise with the Field!

Call for Abstracts and Reviewers

Opens March 23rd until April 19

The Safe States 2018 Annual Meeting will explore how to renew passion, resolve to strengthen, and realize goals related to injury and violence prevention efforts. We know our members and partners are doing exciting work, and it's your time to shine! We encourage you to share your innovative work with colleagues from across the country at this year's Annual Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

We hope you will consider submitting an abstract for projects, research, or program activities that focus on all aspects of injury and violence prevention relating to the conference theme of “Renew. Resolve. Realize.”

Abstracts of 350 words or less will be accepted for the following formats:
  • Short Oral Presentation
  • Extended Oral Presentation
  • Poster
Access the full set of guidelines and instructions and submit your proposal by 11:59 p.m. Eastern, Friday, April 19, 2018.

Abstracts submitted for the Annual Meeting will also be eligible to be considered for the Innovative Initiative of the Year Award, an opportunity for Safe States members to showcase their unique and creative approaches to injury and violence prevention.

If you are looking for other ways to be involved with the Annual Meeting, consider the following:
  • Be an Abstract Reviewer: Volunteer to review abstracts in May 2018. Authors planning to submit abstracts are welcome to participate. Apply by April 19.
  • Register and apply for a scholarship: Plan to attend and tell others. Early registration opens May 21 and scholarship applications are being accepted from March 23 to May 11.
  • Spread the news: Encourage your colleagues and partners to submit an abstract.
We look forward to growing our skills individually, as well as collectively across the field. We hope you are getting excited and look forward to seeing you in Charleston.

Submit an Abstract


Apply to Review Abstracts

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

OEDIT launches 2018 Blueprint 2.0 Initiatives

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Applications open March 15 - Rural Colorado communities encouraged to apply

Launched in 2015, Blueprint 2.0, leverages state partnerships and specialized resources to address the economic development goals of rural areas of Colorado. Blueprint 2.0 is a bottom-up effort to turn regional feedback on local economic needs into a statewide set of initiatives to advance the economies of rural communities.

In 2017, 17 communities across the state benefited from Blueprint 2.0 initiatives focused on place-making, branding, co-working, small business support, film production, outdoor recreation and tourism promotion. Past Blueprint 2.0 recipients have received technical assistance developing tourism assets, strategic business growth action plans and even a tiny home master plan. 

The following eight initiatives will be offered in 2018:

Communities interested in a Blueprint 2.0 initiative are encouraged to learn more and apply online at Applicants will be asked to demonstrate collaboration, strong local leadership and solid support for the initiative they chose to pursue.

Blueprint 2.0 applications are due on June 1, 2018 and winning communities will be announced in early July.

Questions about the program or application process should be directed to Danielle Lendriet at 303-929-1042 or or Meridith Marshall at 303-892-3850 or

Monday, March 12, 2018

Commentary: How a School Bus With No Wheels Taught Me to See Past Silos

How a School Bus With No Wheels Taught Me to See Past Silos

How a School Bus With No Wheels Taught Me to See Past Silos

This is another story about Olneyville, the low-income, predominately Latino neighborhood on the west side of Providence, Rhode Island, that I have been studying for some time in connection with a book I am writing about neighborhood well-being. When I first encountered Olneyville, I had thought my book would be about policing. The Providence Police Department has made the shift that I have long endorsed from a conventional, paramilitary style of policing to place-based, community-led problem-solving. I figured I would talk about the transformation there and a few other places, where the shift has been successful. But the more time I spent in Olneyville, talking with the people who live and work there, the more I realized I was looking at things too narrowly.

One story finally brought it home to me. On weekday mornings, a small group of parents starts walking through the streets of Olneyville. They follow a set route on a specified timetable, stopping at designated spots and street corners before finally reaching the William D’Abate Elementary School. Like every poor, urban neighborhood, Olneyville has more than its share of challenges, and the group walks past vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and derelict houses. At every stop, young children scamper out of their homes and climb aboard a bus with no wheels.

Like any school bus, this one winds its way through the neighborhood, adding more and more kids—and a few additional adults—along the way. But the Walking School Bus is much more than just another car or bus on the road. People recognize it, wave to the kids, and are warmed at the sight of school children chattering and skipping down the sidewalk, oblivious to the rest of the world. The Walking School Bus has become an Olneyville institution.

The idea of the Walking School Bus didn’t start with Olneyville. In fact, there’s a website for maintained by the National Center for Safe Routes to School (itself part of the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina), that describes how to start your very own version.

Yet when I first heard about the Walking School Bus, I dismissed it as just a cute story. What does this have to do with policing? Ain’t no cops on the bus. But then I kept hearing about it. Providence police officers told me about it. So did the leadership team at the Rhode Island Department of Health, which funds the bus. So did the principal at the local elementary school. Again and again, people who had very different connections to the neighborhood brought up the Walking School Bus as a demonstration of something important to their slice of the community. That something varied with the speaker, but it was clear the Walking School Bus was more than a cute story. It mattered a great deal to the people who live and work in Olneyville.

It’s about education, of course. It’s about getting kids to their local elementary school, which matters as much to parents in Olneyville as it does to parents anywhere. In fact, though Olneyville is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Providence, D’Abate has very nearly the highest attendance rate in the city. But isn’t the Walking School Bus also about public safety, since it provides young children safe passage through some hard streets with tough spots? Or is it about public health? The bus meanders as much as two miles through the neighborhood on its way to school, getting the kids much-needed exercise and time outdoors.

Or maybe, in a less obvious way, it’s about employment, since the Walking School Bus gives parents, some of them trying to raise their kids on one income, the freedom (and peace of mind) to get to work without wondering whether their kids will get to school safely and on time. But maybe it’s really about the idea of community itself, with its creative demonstration of communal self-help and intricate relationship-building. Maybe academics have the Walking School Bus in mind when they toss around terms like “collective efficacy,” “social cohesion,” and “social capital.”

Of course, as I finally realized, it’s all these things, which goes to show that neighborhood well-being is never a matter of just one characteristic. After all, a safe neighborhood where people cannot be healthy is no better than a healthy neighborhood where people cannot be safe. In fact, does it really make sense to talk about one without the other? What good is it if you can buy healthful food at the market down the street if getting there means traveling on unsafe streets? What good is it if you have a free clinic a few blocks away where you can get treatment for high blood pressure if the police keep stopping you on the way there and back?

Just as importantly, the Walking School Bus reminds us that the many qualities that combine to create a vibrant, thriving neighborhood are interwoven and mutually dependent, and that a small, inexpensive initiative can have an outsized effect by rippling and compounding through the neighborhood. Yet the arrows can point both ways. Imagine what would happen—to public health, public safety, education, jobs, and the fabric of the community—if the Walking School Bus stopped running. When it comes to neighborhood well-being, it’s all connected, and support for (or neglect of) one affects all the others.

Sadly, too much of the conversation about neighborhood well-being takes place in silos, and as a result, we tend to think of these pieces as separate from one another—public safety as distinct from public health; housing as unconnected to jobs. There are books galore on affordable housing, but in a world of Venn diagrams, this literature does not overlap much with the shelves increasingly weighed down by the many books on the changing face of work, the “knowledge economy,” and the “creative class.” People who write about public health are just beginning to link their field to crime, criminal justice, and policing. And so on.

But once you train your gaze to view a neighborhood through a wider lens, the connections and links come into view. Before long, you start to see them everywhere and can’t understand how you could’ve missed them before. At least, that has been my experience. Consider, for instance, the rippling effects of affordable housing. As I have written elsewhere, there is now an impressive body of research demonstrating that if you live in substandard housing, you’re more apt to get sick. Go figure. Poor housing contributes to higher rates of asthma, lead and other environmental poisoning, as well as mental health problems.

Likewise, when families live in unaffordable housing, they tend to cut corners that need to be square. Another shocker. Families are more likely to go hungry or forgo medical care. One study found that working families paying 30 percent or less of their income on housing costs spent twice as much of their income on health care and insurance than did families paying 50 percent or more of their income for housing. How about education? Unsurprisingly, a child in a safe, stable home tends to get more out of school. The research suggests that high-quality, affordable housing can promote the educational success of low-income children “by supporting family financial stability, reducing mobility, providing safe, nurturing living environments, and providing a platform for community development.”

Then there is the matter of crime. Once again, recent research has shown that housing units subsidized by the federal low income housing tax credit (LIHTC) can lead to significantly lower crime rates. Another study found that LIHTC units led to “significant reductions in violent crime.” This too should not be surprising. After all, LIHTC housing units frequently replace dilapidated buildings and abandoned lots that are a magnet for crime. Combine this with the regulations that require LIHTC units be well maintained and you predictably increase the likelihood of a safe, vibrant neighborhood.

I have resolved in 2018 to embrace the complexity in criminal justice. This requires that I climb out of my silo and see criminal justice for its relationship and connection to other aspects of neighborhood well-being. Policing is part of a much bigger picture, but until we take a holistic and comprehensive view of cause and effect, our solutions will always be piecemeal and inadequate.

About the Author: 
Joseph Margulies is a Professor of Law and Government at Cornell University. He is the author of What Changed When Everything Changed: 9/11 and the Making of National Identity (Yale 2013), and is also counsel for Abu Zubaydah, for whose interrogation the torture memo was written.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Check Out CDOT's New Traffic Safety Funding Opportunity!

The Colorado Department of Transportation's Highway Safety Office has released their Request for Applications (RFA). All local communities are strongly encouraged to apply. Choose from exciting topics such as:

   Young Drivers
   Child Passenger Safety
   Impaired Driving
   Distracted Driving
   Seat Belt Compliance
   Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety

You can access the RFA HERE!

Important Dates
March 14, 2018      Technical Assistance Webinar
April 16, 2018         Applications Due by 3pm
May 7, 2018            Final Application Selection
May 14, 2018          Notification of Funding Decisions
October 1, 2018       Project Start Date

To participate in the technical assistance webinar on March 14th from 2:00 - 3:30pm log on to:

Call in: 712-770-4035   Pin: 669810