BEE HEARD: Technology and Mental Health

Native Connections

Before the pandemic, there was a steady increase in people using apps and the internet to seek out advice, tips, and information on things like mental health issues, conditions, signs and symptoms, and treatment. This use of technology has increased dramatically since the hit of the pandemic. Virtual assistance and services seem to be a safe way to access mental health services and information right now. With that said, many people have turned to phone apps to be a click away from games or platforms that can help improve thinking skills, coping skills, breathing and meditation techniques, and even track your progress and remind you to take some time out of every day for self-care. 

There are apps like “MY3” which has been designed to help those stay safe while they are having a mental health crisis or thoughts of suicide. Other apps like “What’s Up” have methods and tips to help reduce stress or anxiety and can also help you maintain good habits. There is also an app called “PTSD Coach” that was created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD. This app is a portable stress management tool that can help you manage life with PTSD. 

Even with the abundance of apps and online tools, it is very important that you do your research or talk to a professional about what apps might be beneficial to you. 

Technology and Substance Use

The same is true for those who want support and services for addictions. Many people have been attending virtual support or talking circles to help them stay on track with their plans. If they need added support, they are just a call away from a peer recovery coach that can help them anytime of the day or night. There are also many virtual trainings and workshops available free of cost to assist in your knowledge and skills regarding substance use and how to support yourself or a family or friend. 

One app called “Quit That!” helps track your habits and overcome bad habits or additions. 

Keep in mind, apps do not substitute professional help, rehab programs or treatments.  

What does the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division say?

The Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division recognizes all the advances and accessibility of services, information, and tips around mental health and substance use via the internet and apps. There are plenty of opportunities to understand what the signs and symptoms are if someone is experiencing a mental health crisis or even a substance use disorder. 

We want to stress that technology and apps do not take the place of professional mental health or substance use assistance. You can plug in and search as much as you want on the internet to find out why you’re feeling the way you do or to gather information about what you can do to feel better. However, there is one thing missing:  a person on the other end of the line, a professional who is committed to listening to you, hearing you explain what you’re going through, helping you process and eventually recover and build resiliency. It’s important to keep in mind that many people suffer from mental health issues and even addictions; with proper counseling, rehab programs and support, these issues can be treatable. 

The Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division and the Native Connections Program would like to stress that mental health is health. Just as we have our yearly check-ups and even when we experience a toothache emergency, we go see a doctor to make sure we are staying healthy. Mental health is the same thing. Maybe we just need someone to talk to, just to check in, or we’ve just lost a loved one, or we’re noticing anxiety or stress in our life. Mental health applies to everyone no matter the age. We encourage you to seek out someone to talk to even if it’s every now and then. 

Upcoming Community Events:

Native Connections Program will be hosting another “Acting All Some How Show” on Dec. 23, from 6 – 7 p.m. Open to all community members. Topic for the show will be: How to talk to youth about drugs and alcohol. We will have two guest speakers: Rich Herrera, Southern Ute tribal member and Southern Ute Police Department Detective; Angelina Whitehorse, Navajo tribal member and Southern Ute Division of Social Services Family Therapist. We will also have a special performance from Olyvia Watt’s, Southern Ute Youth Powwow Performer. Zoom ID: 871-9824-1301. You can use the Zoom ID on the day/time of the event, or you can email Precious Collins at prcollins@southernute-nsn.gov or call 970-563-2487 and a link will be sent to you. 

LOCAL RESOURCES

  • Southern Ute Health Center – Behavior Health: 69 Capote Dr., Ignacio, CO 970-563-4581. For local Native Americans, call to schedule a counseling appointment. 
  • Southern Ute Division of Social Services: 116 Capote Drive, Ignacio, CO 970-563-2331 for local Native Americans needing assistance with child welfare needs and family support. 
  • 24/7 Axis Crisis Line: Southwest Colorado 970-247-5245 or text 741741. 
  • St Ignatius Catholic Church: Pastor Cesar Arras, 14826 CO-172, Ignacio, CO 970-563-4241.
  • Ignacio Community Church: Pastor Randall Haynes 405 Browning Ave, Ignacio, CO (currently located inside ELHI) 970-759-3633 
  • Second Wind Fund of the Four Corners: Believes that every child and youth at risk of suicide should have access to the mental health treatment they need. We match children and youth at risk for suicide with licensed therapists in their communities, 720-962-0706.
  • Women’s Resource Center: Creates personal, social, and professional growth opportunities for all women in La Plata County, 970-247-1242.

24/7 STATE OR NATIONAL RESOURCES

  • Colorado Crisis Line: 844-493-8255 or Text “TALK” to 38255. You’ll immediately be put in contact with a trained counselor, ready to text with you about anything.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Has both an online chat and a 24/7 phone line at 1-800-273-8255 if you are thinking of suicide or need help for a loved one.
  • The Trevor Project: Seeks to serve LGBT youth, has a 24/7 suicide prevention line at 866-488-7386.
  • We R Native: Join the movement by liking them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/weRnative), signing up for the text messaging service (text NATIVE to 24587).

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