July 2022

A Note from Our President and CEO, Dr. Kiara Kuenzler

Dear Community,


Our summer is in full swing with many of us taking a long-awaited vacation, weekends away, or a concert in the park. Finding ways to “get back to normal.” We crave this normalcy, the desire to settle back in, put the pandemic behind us and move on. I feel it too.

While we strive to move on, we know that many in our community are struggling, the pandemic has had a lasting impact on our mental health. In fact, 38% of Coloradoans have reported a decline in their mental health last year, perhaps the most significant health crisis to follow the pandemic. Young adults are struggling the most, with more than half of people ages 19 to 29 sharing that their mental health declined during the pandemic (CHI, 2021 Colorado Health Access Survey). 

Still the challenges brought on or exacerbated by the pandemic have produced a heavier burden on communities of color. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, people of color faced longstanding disparities in health care and long history of mistreatment by our healthcare system. The pandemic has exacerbated these inequities leading to less access and poorer outcomes. A national study reports that over 2.5 million youth in the U.S. have severe depression, and that multiracial youth are at greatest risk. In the U.S., nearly 14.5% of youth who identify as more than one race have severe major depression, more than one in every seven multiracial youth. (MHA, 2022 State of Mental Health in America). 

At Jefferson Center, we turn our focus inward and how we can break down barriers and create systems that promote safety and trust, and better meet the needs of our community. Together with our community partners, we advocate for accessibility and equitable health outcomes. In July, we join in recognizing BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month and highlight the mental health needs and experiences of historically disenfranchised racial and ethnic groups across our community.

Officially known as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Month, Bebe Moore Campbell was an author, teacher, mental health advocate, and co-founder of NAMI Inglewood (National Alliance on Mental Illness). She reasoned that, while there is a stigma around mental health care for everyone, and no one wants to admit that they are not “in control” of their mind, people of color are especially impacted by this because they already feel stigmatized by societal racism and systemic prejudice in the health care system.

This year, Mental Health America is adopting the theme #BeyondTheNumbers to highlight the historical context, systems of support, and actionable ways we can progress toward a more equitable future. You can download their toolkit through this link: BIPOC Mental Health Month | Mental Health America (mhanational.org). Throughout July, Jefferson Center will share resources throughout BIPOC Mental Health Month.


While you continue to enjoy these summer months and make memories with your loved ones, as mental health advocates, I also encourage you to explore and spread awareness about BIPOC Mental Health Month. Reflect upon the advancements we have made as well as the work there is still to do to celebrate diversity and ensure equity for all.

- Kiara Kuenzler, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, President and CEO

Upcoming Events and Classes

Soiree at Sunset

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park

801 South Yarrow Street, Lakewood

5:15 PM - VIP Admission

5:30 PM - General Admission

6:30 PM - Concert start

Join us for a late summer evening of music and fun on August 25! This outdoor concert at Heritage Lakewood Belmar Park will feature Colorado’s own Chris Daniels & the Kings! Purchase a General Ticket for the concert, bring a picnic dinner, and we’ll provide the beer, wine and soft drinks. Purchase a VIP Ticket, and you’ll be treated to a pre-show reception where you can meet and mingle with Chris and the band, and enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks! 

All proceeds from the concert will help fund the critical mental health and substance use services Jefferson Center provides to our community.

Purchase your tickets by July 31 and receive special advance pricing!

Purchase Your Ticket

Wheat Ridge Carnation Mile

When: Saturday, August 13, 2022 | 8:00 am

Where: 38th Avenue from Depew Street to High Court in Wheat Ridge

Fast, flat, and straight as can be! That's the Carnation Mile. This race, which benefits Jefferson Center, will be held on the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival Parade route on 38th Ave from near Depew Street to High Court. This is a family-friendly event, and after the race, you can stay and enjoy the parade. Come out and run your fastest mile!

Mental Health First Aid

Are you interested in learning more about mental health and don’t know where to start? Do you want to learn how to help when someone you know is in crisis?

Join the more than one million Americans who have taken the first step to stomp out stigma in their own communities with Mental Health First Aid. You will learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of many mental health and substance use disorders and develop the skills to help someone in crisis.

Register for our upcoming classes:

  • July 28, 8:00am - 5:00pm (Adult, In-person MHFA)
  • August 18, 9:00am - 4:00pm (Adult MHFA)
  • September 7, 9:00am - 4:00pm (Adult MHFA)
Learn More

QPR: Question, Persuade, and Refer

Suicide Prevention Training

QPR is a 90-minute gatekeeper training that can be customized to fit your audience. Just as people trained in CPR help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. 

Upcoming classes (held online via Zoom):

  • July 26, 9:00am - 10:30am
  • August 16, 9:00am - 10:30am
  • jueves, 15 de septiembre de 2022, 09:00 - 10:30
Learn More
Wellness classes are back!

Please join us for one of our upcoming wellness classes! These 45 minute seminars discuss strategic methods to improve your wellness through nutrition, sleep, relationship building, artistic expression, and more.

The July, August, and September Wellness Class schedule is now available!

Learn More

Voices Of Hope: Lynn's Story

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. Voices of Hope is Jefferson Center's way of highlighting stories of resilience and the strength of individuals as they overcome barriers, the family members who walk alongside them, and the mental health professionals who help them through their journey of recovery.


Lynn O. was introduced to Jefferson Center during a time of crisis in her family. A teenage family member’s behavior had changed drastically, and no one knew what was happening or what they could do to help their loved one. Was it teenage rebellion or the result of parental divorce? No one could tell for sure. Their behavior resulted in failing grades, the usage of drugs and alcohol, encounters with the police, and a complete loss of motivation. Lynn and her family’s hearts were breaking. They had always had access to private insurance, and they tried finding help through school and private counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists, but nothing made a significant difference. The situation escalated, causing multiple trips to the emergency room and three different month-long stays in a psychiatric hospital over the course of fourteen months.

“Jefferson Center walked WITH my family through this.”

- Lynn, former client of Jefferson Center

At this point, Lynn and her family felt absolutely exhausted. During their last hospital visit, the staff at Porter Hospital reached out to Jefferson Center. Lynn was not familiar with community mental health centers, but she was willing to try anything.

Read Lynn's full story on Jefferson Center's website.

Read Lynn's Story

Want to help others by sharing your own story of mental health and/or substance use recovery? Visit our website to learn more, or contact Amy Lyden-Cardinal, Peer Specialist, at AmyL@jcmh.org or 720-202-7357.

You can remain anonymous.

Jefferson Center is a Top Workplace

Top Workplace 2022.png

For the tenth year in a row, Jefferson Center has been recognized by The Denver Post as a Top Workplace! We don't take this honor for granted, and we are truly grateful to each and every one of our staff members that make Jefferson Center a great place to work.

Interested in joining Jefferson Center's team? We provide flexible schedules, remote options, and an exceptional benefits package to help you develop your career devoted to helping others. Learn more about the rewards of working at Jefferson Center and read through our open job listings on our website.

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