Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rural Solutions helps with suicide, poverty, health: Therapy free for youth

From: Fort Morgan Times

The Rural Solutions program works on preventing suicide, bringing people out of poverty and the health and wellness of people in Northeast Colorado, including in Morgan County.

United Way of Morgan County funding helps Rural Solutions with its LifeSource Project, which funds therapy for suicidal or depressed youth, said Director Mary Gross.

This is especially important for young people who do not have health insurance, or do not have health insurance that covers mental health issues.

Therapy is free to those young people, and offers them a chance to talk with someone about their depression and suicidal thoughts, Gross said.

Young people do not have to have severe depression or be actively considering suicide to get this service, she noted.

Sometimes school counselors refer kids to therapy, or they can ask for it themselves, Gross said. Sessions can happen at school or at a therapist's office.

Life Source is part of Rural Solution's overall suicide prevention program, and United Way funding also helps with training people to work in suicide prevention, Gross said.

Another program called More Than Sad brings a presentation about depression and suicide to Morgan County students at Fort Morgan High School, that happens in health classes.

Man Therapy is also offered, which helps men understand that they might benefit from therapy, too, Gross said.

Northeast Colorado has a relatively high suicide rate among young people and men compared to the rest of Colorado, so this is an important issue.

Man Therapy works with men from their own perspectives. It has a website at, which can give people a sense of what it is all about, Gross said.

On that site, the therapist says Man Therapy is a "place where men can be men" while dealing with common feelings such as anger, sadness and stress that can fester "like a battle ax wound."

When feelings become uncontrollable, thoughts can turn suicidal, the site notes.

Agricultural producers have a high rate of suicide, and the Rural Solutions program can help those who love a man who might be at risk, too.

As the quotes suggest, there is some humor on the website, too.

The Heartbeat Support Group meets monthly in Fort Morgan for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Rural Solutions also offers Bridges Out of Poverty, which offers training to professionals who come in contact with those struggling with poverty, Gross said.

This program lets professionals take a look through the eyes of those struggling just to survive, who are overcome by the "tyranny of the moment," she said.

Often, the poor must try to deal with the most pressing issue, and do not feel they can make plans for the future, Gross explained.

Rural Solutions started a program called Getting Ahead, which helps individuals who are struggling with poverty to learn ways to get ahead in life, she said.

Poverty can be generational or situational, and the program helps people from their own situations, Gross said.

People have various issues to deal with, such as dysfunctional relationships that can keep them in poverty, or not being able to think past the current crisis or figuring out how to set goals, she said.

It can be hard to get out of the spiral of poverty, but it can be done, Gross noted.

The program can also help people not to be taken advantage of by others. For instance, it can show them how payday loans only make their lives worse.

Sometimes, getting ahead is simply a matter of learning to budget properly, Gross said.

Getting Ahead is now offered through the Morgan County Family Center.

Rural Solutions also has programs that deal with healthier ways of living, or helping people deal with severe illness like cancer.

Healthier Living Colorado helps people to reduce the complications of chronic disease such as heart disease, lung conditions, diabetes or arthritis.

For more information, go to