56 mile trek for mental health

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The lack of mental health support in rural parts of Colorado is startling. The Mesa County Health Department reports that suicide is one of the top causes of death in our county.

Now, a group of Coloradans, organized by Healthier Colorado, are going to take a trek called "In our Shoes" to bring awareness to the lack of mental and behavioral health services in rural parts of the state.

Starting Wednesday, the group will walk 56 miles from Parachute to Grand Junction along Old US Highway 6 to symbolize the distance that some people have to travel to receive mental health help.

"Your zip code should not determine your access to health, period," said Jake Williams, executive director of Healthier Colorado.

Mental health is an issue rural Colorado has struggled with, but little has been done to address the problem.

"It’s easy to ignore certain facts and it's easy to ignore this is happening," said Flora Welsh, walk participant.

So, this group of about 50 Coloradans is looking to send a message on foot that they hope will be heard all the way to the state capital.

While the walk focuses on small communities, the organizers say the issue is anything but small.

"I would venture to say everybody knows somebody who needs help—growing up in CO we've had all sorts of shootings,” said Dante Velez, a walk participant. “There have been plenty of things that have a ripple effect in communities big or small."

The 56 mile two day walk will end outside Grand Junction's City Hall on Thursday afternoon.

The organizers said if you want to support them through their journey, then send a message to our legislators.