BEE HEARD: New Year 2022 — End the Stigma! 

Native Connections

The 2022 New Year, and new beginnings! This past year, you or someone you know might have had a year of some ups, downs, grieving, births, deaths, love, break-ups, and even sickness or wellness. I’m sure we are not alone when we say mental health has been on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Mental health has been talked about, advertised, and promoted more now then we’ve seen in years. Although the reasons why it’s been promoted so vastly (COVID-19, drug pandemic, politics, and social dilemmas, etc.) might not be great, there is some good coming out of all of this.  

We are recognizing and understanding just how important mental health is to our lives and the quality of life we want to live. People are also looking out for one another more often and taking trainings to recognize if someone might be experiencing a mental health crisis like severe depression, panic attacks, or suicidal thoughts. The world is showing up to help mankind survive these harsh past couple of years and we want to share some tips on how you can help yourself, your family, friends, and community — End the Stigma! 

Steps you can take to End the Stigma.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are seven ways you can help End the Stigma around mental health illness.  

  1. Get treatment. You may be reluctant to admit you need treatment. Don’t let the fear of being labeled with a mental illness prevent you from seeking help. Treatment can provide relief by identifying life issues and reducing symptoms that interfere with your work and personal life. 
  1. Don’t let stigma create self-doubt and shame. Stigma doesn’t just come from others. You may mistakenly believe that your condition is a sign of personal weakness or that you should be able to control it without help. Seeking counseling, educating yourself about your condition, and connecting with others who have mental illness can help you gain self-esteem and overcome destructive self-judgment. 
  1. Don’t isolate yourself. If you have a mental illness, you may be reluctant to tell anyone about it. Your family, friends, clergy, or members of your community can offer you support if they know about your mental illness. Reach out to people you trust for the compassion, support and understanding you need. 
  1. Don’t equate yourself with your illness. You are not an illness. So instead of saying “I’m bipolar,” say “I have bipolar disorder.” Instead of calling yourself “a schizophrenic,” say “I have schizophrenia.” 
  1. Join a support group. Some local and national groups, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), offer local programs and internet resources that help reduce stigma by educating people who have mental illness, their families, and the public. Some state and federal agencies and programs, such as those that focus on vocational rehabilitation and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), offer support for people with mental illness. 
  1. Get help at school. If you or your child have a mental illness that affects learning, find out what plans and programs might help. Discrimination against students because of a mental illness is against the law, and educators at primary, secondary and college levels are required to accommodate students as best they can. Talk to teachers, professors or administrators about the best approach and resources. If a teacher doesn’t know about a student’s disability, it can lead to discrimination, barriers to learning, and poor grades. 
  1. Speak out against stigma. Consider expressing your opinions at events, in letters to the editor or on the internet. It can help instill courage in others facing similar challenges and educate the public about mental illness. 

For more information, please feel free to check out this article at:   

The Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division and Native Connections Program would also like to add one more suggestion:  

  1. Get training! Take an Adult or Youth Mental Health First Aid Training or Question, Persuade, Refer training or something equivalent. These trainings are called gatekeeper trainings to help the public assist someone who might be experiencing a mental health illness or crisis. Think of this like first aid and CPR – we try to be prepared if someone falls, hurts themselves, or goes into cardiac arrest, right? Well, these trainings are kind of similar in that we try to be prepared if someone is experiencing a mental health illness or crisis. If you are interested in taking a Youth Mental Health First Aid Training or QPR training, please reach out to Precious Collins with the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division 970.563.5700 to sign up for the next available training.  

If you need to talk to someone, please reach out. It’s okay not to feel okay. If you or someone you know has been struggling with their emotions, behaviors, or substance use please reach out to us. We can help you find appropriate tools and services that could help you overcome obstacles in your life. We are here for you. Please contact the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division or the Native Connections Program at 970.563.5700 for more information or to set up an appointment to see a counselor or therapist.  


  • Southern Ute Health Center Behavioral Health Division: 4101 CR 222 Durango, Co 970-563-5700. For local Native Americans. We are here to support mental health, substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery. Please call to schedule an appointment to talk to someone.   
  • Southern Ute Division of Social Services: 116 Capote Drive, Ignacio, CO 970-563-2331 or for local Native Americans needing assistance with child welfare needs and family support.  
  • Southern Ute Police Department: Anonymous Tip Hotline Do you have information about a crime? Please call 970-563-4999. This “Tip Line” was designed to allow you the ability to provide law enforcement with information, anonymously if need be, regarding criminal, drug, or suspicious activity. The “Tip Line” is monitored around the clock by SUPD Investigators, but it DOES NOT replace 9-1-1 or the non-emergency police number (970) 563-4401. 
  • 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 Axis Crisis Line: SW Colorado 970-247-5245 or Text 741741 
  • 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: Which seeks to serve LGBT youth, has a 24/7 suicide prevention line at 866-488-7386. 

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