Submitted by Adam Williamson, M Counc. LCPC, NCC
This piece was originally published in the July 21, 2016 issue of the Teton Valley News as part of the weekly Nonprofit Spotlight presented by the Community Foundation of Teton Valley.
The mission of the Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition (TVMHC) is to promote mental wellness in Teton Valley through education, community action and the coordination of resources. We function to help prevent mental health emergencies through prevention efforts, provide subsidized counseling for those who are suicidal or in a crisis, advocate for mental health awareness, collaborate with community officials and respond to community needs as appropriate. We track our progress with data and can show great success in our community.
The TVMHC is a membership driven organization that is 100% volunteer. The money raised is used for direct client contact or other activities to fulfill our mission. Coalition members consist of professionals such as counselors and lawyers, as well as state officials and general community members who have an interest in improving the mental health in Teton Valley. Our efforts have paid off! In 2014, the TVMHC was recognized by the Idaho State Planning Council on Mental Health for our work in Teton Valley. We have been recognized as a “Model Program” for how to promote mental wellness, collaborate and initiate change in rural areas. The coalition has a strong presence and is very active in the community in numerous ways, such as hosting trainings, organizing depression screenings, and co-hosting the annual Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Walk with SPAN Teton Valley among many others.
We see value in many other nonprofits and consistently work with the Community Resource Center, Family Safety Network, and SPAN Teton Valley to better serve our community. Our members collaborate weekly with school professionals, law enforcement, health care staff and many others. To date, the TVMHC has volunteered over 1000 hours of meeting time alone in an attempt to better collaborate with others and improve the mental health of the community. One of the best relationships we have is with the school district. Here, we recently finished our second year in the middle school teaching Dialectic Behavioral Therapy skills focused on emotion regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal relationships courtesy of multiple Teton Springs Foundation grants. The skills taught in these classes are empirically proven to reduce emotional suffering and build resiliency.
Our main program is the Subsidized Counseling Program, which is on its 6th year and has allowed TVMHC clinicians to provide over 500 free counseling sessions to those who are either suicidal or in a crisis. This saves lives and taxpayer money, as the average cost of an ER visit for a psychiatric emergency is around $9500. We are proud to say that the TVMHC is one of only a few Teton Valley nonprofits that directly save lives. If you or anyone you know is in need of counseling, visit our website to find the list of available therapists and call the one you’d like to work with. It’s as simple as that.
If you are interested in joining the coalition, we meet on the 4th Friday of each month from 12-1pm at the Teton Valley Realty Building and are currently expanding both our membership and our board. For more information about the Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition, visit www.tetonvalleymentalhealth.com.
If you are affiliated with a Teton Valley nonprofit, we want to hear from you! Help us share why Teton Valley nonprofits matter. Each week, the Community Foundation will highlight a local nonprofit in the pages of the Teton Valley News. Email Dawn Banks, Marketing and Programs Director, at [email protected] or call 208.354.0230. We look forward to helping share your story!