It's hard to believe that in a county as large as Larimer there is no treatment available. If people need help they have to go to Greeley in Weld County. The Larimer County jail population has been out of control for awhile and they really need to look at some realistic options because they can't afford to keep building cages.
A community partnership group is looking to the federal government for help in getting a detoxification and acute mental health facility built in Larimer County, something experts say is sorely needed.
Colorado Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar and Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave have included funding requests in the Health and Human Services appropriations bills making their way through Congress to help get the long-needed facility on its way.
"The need is growing faster than the population," said Erin Hall, community projects manager with the Health District of Northern Larimer County. Hall is also the program manager for the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Partnership of Larimer County, which made the funding requests.
Patients who need those services now go to the Island Grove Regional Treatment Center in Greeley, more than 30 miles away. The center serves people who need treatment one step below what Mountain Crest Behavioral Healthcare Center in Fort Collins provides.
Admissions to Island Grove's detox facility, which have increased by 5 percent to 10 percent a year, are expected to grow 22.5 percent over the next three years, Hall said.
The requests - $100,000 by Salazar in the Senate and $1 million by Musgrave in the House - would go toward constructing the $5 million facility, Hall said. The remaining money for construction - none has been raised so far - would be raised through public and private sources, Hall said. The facility would open in the first half of 2009, she said.
Having these resources in the community would better serve those who need treatment, said Randy Ratliff, executive director of the Larimer Center for Mental Health.
“The biggest thing is that notion that we need to make these services available near where people live, work and play,” he said. “It gives greater access to support systems and all the things needed to reinforce recovery.”
A failed ballot measure in November to expand the county’s criminal justice system through a property tax increase included $1 million to get the facility up and running.
“The need (for such a facility) has been identified in the community for more than a decade,” said Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden.
Such a facility would relieve pressure at the jail, which has become the de facto resource for mental health treatment in the county, said sheriff’s Maj. Gary Darling, who oversees the jail.5 to 10 percent: Annual increase in admissions to the Island Grove detox facility in Greeley
> 22.5 percent: Anticipated increase in detox admissions at Island Grove over the next three years
> 9 percent: Anticipated increase in admissions to the acute mental health facility at Island Grove over the next three years
> 22 percent: Percentage of inmates at the Larimer County Detention Center receiving mental health treatment
> 36,000: The number of people in Larimer County believed to suffer from mental illness or substance abuse
> 3,600: The number of people in Larimer County believed to have co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disordersColoradoan