Community Mental Health Event: What to Notice


Courtesy of The Wheeler Opera House

An image of the Opera House and meeting place for the mental health conference

The Wheeler Opera House held a Mental Health event hosted by mind springs on November 29th, 2021. This event talked about struggling with mental health and noticing when someone is in distress.

“We’ve all been touched recently by some of the incidences of suicide and depression that we’ve heard from our community,” Aspen Mayor Torre in an Aspen Times interview on mental health. “It’s made a real impact on us.”

Mayor Torre brought this event to Aspen because he believes it is a well-needed subject that needs to be brought up, especially after recent events that have hurt the town of Aspen. Torre feels that these past years have been harder on citizens with the pandemic and have taken a significant toll on everyone.

“We can’t be the experts on everything that comes along, but we can rely on the experts, and that’s what we’re trying to do is to raise awareness — not only awareness but competencies and tools to engage people and know how to engage people and when to engage them and not to shy away when somebody is in need,” Ward Hauenstein said in an Aspen Times interview on mental health.

Councilman Ward Hauenstein is a prominent advocate and the mayor that hearing from a better understanding of mental health might bring better balance to people’s daily lives through rough times.

The main subject brought up at the event was PACT, the Pitkin Area Corresponder Teams program. This dispatches Mind Springs Health clinicians and Aspen Police Department human services officers to mental health calls and supports law enforcement in Snowmass Village and unincorporated Pitkin County.

PACT started not too long ago and was running a 4-day weekly schedule. After recent events, the operation has received enough mental health correspondents and police officers to make a 7-day weekly schedule to run PACT in the Roaring Fork program.

Over email, mayor Torre told the Aspen Times that the focus on mental health would be a “continuum of conversation” as the community looks toward 2022 and beyond. Mayor Torre’s primary focus is to have the community understand that this isn’t just a one-and-done type of thing, which means that he isn’t going only to have one event or one conversation about mental health but to keep it going.

Torre believes that if mental health in the Town of Aspen is not taken care of, other community areas will not be taken care of correctly or at all. “Primary is making sure that people have their basic needs taken care of, and one of those is mental health,” Mayor Torre said to the Aspen Times on Mind Springs mental health event.