New 24/7 crisis hotline to improve mental health services

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A new crisis hotline has been created for 10 counties on the Western Slope. The hotline, operated by Colorado West, provides 24/7 services for individuals having suicidal thoughts, or for anyone who is concerned about another person who may be having suicidal thoughts.

Devon Easterling of Grand Junction has used Colorado West's crisis services multiple times in the past when he's had suicidal and homicidal thoughts. Easterling has schizoaffective disorder, which he describes as a combination of schizophrenia and manic bi-polar disorder.

"The thoughts that were going through my head were that people were really getting on my nerves and I really wanted to use my knife on them," he said.

He knows the consequences had he not sought help from Colorado West.

"Either I would be dead, or a lot of people would be dead and I'd be facing prison," he said.

The hotline, which is free of charge, serves Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt and Summit counties.

"Our therapists here are trained really specifically around therapy and counseling skills," said Michelle Hoy, regional director for Colorado West. "They're really looking at the age, the gender, the history, what really is happening with this person. It's having a caring understanding conversation versus having law enforcement go out and contact someone who's already in a crisis."

The number is 1-888-207-4004.

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