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BEE HEARD: Spring brings wellness to all

Photo Credit: Native Connections

Spring 2021 

The wind is blowing. The clouds move in and out of the area. Spring showers are back. And the baby animals are hoping around. Like the bears, our bodies and minds are awakening to the change of seasons. People are preparing for Bear Dance and powwows and our youth will be turning the page to new adventures in their lives. There’s a lot we go through leading up to and entering this season and we might be skipping or overlooking some important things that might help us have a positive experience.  

Some things we might overlook could be recognizing and appreciating ourselves for welcoming this new season into our life, giving appreciation and prayers to everything around us as things come back to life, and healing from what has happened in the prior seasons. Spring is a beautiful time of the year and a time for many of us to participate in our cultural ceremonies and practice the traditions handed down to us by our ancestors. Holding on to past mistakes and bad feelings is not good for us. We learn to grieve, we find comfort and medicine with our family and community, and we learn to heal. That is resiliency that lies within all of us and sometimes you must tap into that to not only survive, but to thrive.  

Mental wellness is the key. Mental wellness or mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. So much of what we do physically can impact us mentally. It is important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, helping you achieve overall wellness and setting you on a path to recovery.  

This month, the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division is expanding its focus and raising awareness about the connection between spiritual health, physical health, and mental health, through the theme #4Mind4Body.  We are exploring the topics of animal companionship, spirituality and religion, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness. A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help people recover from these conditions.  

For those dealing with a chronic health condition, and for the people who care for them, it can be especially important to focus on mental health. When dealing with more than one diagnosis, focusing on both physical and mental health concerns can be daunting but it is critically important in achieving overall wellness.  

There are things you can do that may help.  Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend, meditating, playing with a pet, or working from home once a week can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy. The company of animalswhether as pets or service animalscan have a profound impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to recover from illnesses.  A pet (even a red dog, aye!) can be a source of comfort and can help us to live mentally healthier lives.  And whether you go to church, meditate daily, or simply find time to enjoy that cup of tea each morning while checking in with yourself – it is important to connect with your spiritual side in order to find that mind-body connection. 

The Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal.  Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. Finding the balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, physical health, and mental health, can help you on an overall healthy path – #4Mind4Body. For more information, visit or call us at 970.563.5700. Reach out for more information or for help. 

The Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division offers a variety of services and people who can answer your questions and provide information about the dangers of alcohol or other substances. We can also talk about recovery and support systems both locally and virtually. Please reach out to us and let’s work together to create a healthy community for our present and our future.  


Southern Ute Tribal Membership MeetingAccessing Mental Health Services. 

The Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division, the Southern Ute Tribal Benefits, and Southern Ute Employee Benefits are teaming up to present information about how to access mental health services and assistance on Thursday, June 17 at 3 p.m. This meeting is for Southern Ute tribal members only and will be recorded for tribal members to access later on the tribal member portal. WebEx information and flyer will be in the next Drum issue, please be on the lookout.  

In the meantime, come out and take a walk with us for the “Walk for Mental Health” walking event on Thursday, May 27 at 12:10 p.m. at SunUte Park put on by the SunUte Community Center and the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division. There will be a 50 people maximum, social distancing and masks will be required.  See you there! 

We are looking for community members and youth to join the Prevention Coalition tasked to reduce youth substance usage, eliminate mental health stigma, and start the discussion around suicide and prevention.  

We have monthly coalition meetings and workshops to help our community understand the real story behind alcohol, meth, opioids, vaping, marijuana, and other drugs in our community. We need your help! All meeting is held virtually.  

For more information please contact Precious Collins, Native Connections Program Coordinator for more information 970-563-5700 or email  



FREE online Suicide Prevention Training-

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) for Southern Ute Tribe Employees, and Southern Ute Tribal Members. Let’s all learn the warning signs and what to do if someone is experiencing a crisis.  

For more information please contact Precious Collins, Native Connections Program Coordinator for more information 970-563-5700 or email  

Native American Youth Talking Circles 

A virtual space for youth to meet, talk, and share challenges and accomplishments. Peer support system for Native American Youth in 9-12 grade. 

Please contact Stephanie Garcia at 970-563-5700 or email OR Lisa Pratchett at to sign up. 


Local Resources 

  • Southern Ute Health Center- Behavior Health 69 Capote Drive, 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 Health System Care Hotline: Durango, CO You’re not alone. With our 24/7 crisis services, help is on the way. Your health… We’re in this together. 970-247-5245
  • 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.

State or National Resources- All are 24/7. 

  • 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 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.
  • Join the WeRNative movement by liking them on Facebook (www facebook  com/weRnative) , signing up for the text messaging service (text NATIVE to 24587). 

You are ready to help create a drug-free community? Want to help and be a part of the change? 



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