The Eagle River Valley is incredibly beautiful, the people who live here are kind, and there is an abundance of activities here or nearby to feed our souls. Those who visit our home call it paradise. But on a day-to-day basis, we all experience the challenges and struggles of living, no matter what the backdrop looks like.

On the journey of life, there are peaks and valleys, and the best way to navigate the highs and lows is by supporting one another. None of us are alone. There are a vast array of behavioral health resources in this valley. Though our community is small, we are mighty. Each of us has the power to pull a friend, family member, neighbor, co-worker or classmate out of a valley when in despair. With simple actions and words, we can lift others to their highest peak. Talking to the right person at the right moment can make all the difference. So start a conversation today. We’re here to help.

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Staying connected with others promotes a sense of belonging and community that everyone needs. It also helps us look for signs of sadness, depression or even suicidal thoughts. Though it can sometimes be hard, ask others how they are feeling, listen carefully, and pay attention to the following signs of struggle:
  • Expressions of sadness, anxiety, guilt or lack of interest Intense worry or fear
  • A sense of unworthiness
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Anger and violent outbursts
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Weight loss or significant weight gain
  • Struggling to focus on work, school and other regular tasks
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Using drugs or alcohol to cope (especially after a period of recovery or sobriety)
  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviors
  • Sentiments of feeling like a burden to others
Social media is not a safe space for confidential conversations. While texts or emails provide an opportunity to carefully craft a message, they are not as genuine a form of communication as an in-person conversation. If you sense someone needs to talk:
  • Schedule a time to meet up in person.
  • Find a coffee shop, invite them to your home or stop by theirs.
  • Talking outside can be even more therapeutic, as being in nature has been proven to boost mental health.
  • Because sometimes it’s easier to talk side by side rather than face to face, plan a hike or walk on one of our local paths, go skiing/snowboarding and talk on the chairlift, go for a slow bike ride and talk along the way.
There is no right–or wrong–way to talk about mental health. Asking questions gives the person you’re talking to the space to express how they’re feeling or what they’re going through. Asking open-ended questions and then giving them the time to talk can be an extremely powerful way to help others. Try any of these conversation starters.
  • How are you?
  • No, really how are you?
  • Are you okay?
  • I’ve noticed you’ve been sad. Can we talk about it?
  • I've been worried about you. Can we talk?
  • I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself and I’m worried. Tell me about how you’re feeling.
  • It seems like you are going through a difficult time. How can I help?
  • If you don’t want to talk to me, is there someone else you are comfortable talking to?
  • What can I do to support you?
  • What’s the best way I can help you?
  • What does it feel like to go through what you’re going through?
  • How does what happened affect you?
  • Are you contemplating suicide?
You don’t have to be a professional therapist to help someone who may be struggling. Your time and presence are the most valuable gifts you can give others.
  • Reserve judgment. You may not agree with the person, but it’s important to focus on being a good listener.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Don’t try to fix the problem. Sometimes people just want to be heard and understood.
  • Ask who or what has helped them deal with similar issues in the past.
  • Sometimes talking to someone who has dealt with a similar experience helps. Do you know of someone who has experienced these types of problems who you can talk with?
  • Tell them you care about them.
  • Ask if they are in therapy, and if not, recommend it. They can find a therapist HERE. If they are worried about the cost, assure them there is financial assistance for free therapy through Olivia’s Fund.
  • I’m sorry you’re in pain.
  • I can’t even imagine what you’re going through.
  • Do you want to talk about it?
  • I may not understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
  • You’re not alone.
  • I’m here for you.
  • I’m here whenever you need to talk.
  • Can I take care of any errands for you, do something around the house or bring you dinner?
  • What can I do to support you?
  • If there is an immediate threat to life, call 9-1-1.
  • Tell the person you care about him/her. Ask directly if they are thinking about suicide.
  • If they say yes:
    • Take them seriously.
    • Stay with them.
    • Help them remove lethal means.
    • Call Your Hope Center at (970) 306-4673.
In order to show your understanding and compassion, avoid expressions that might be perceived as dismissive, belittling or unhelpful. When someone is upset, avoid saying:
  • I know exactly how you feel.
  • You have no reason to be sad.
  • Hang in there. It will pass.
  • Don’t be so negative.
  • Think happy thoughts.
  • After someone opens up, make sure to treat them the same as you did before.
  • Include the person in your plans–invite them to hang out 1-on-1 again or to participate in larger group settings.
  • Offer to connect them with additional resources.
  • Check in often.
  • Understand your limits. Know what you can and can’t do for the other person.
  • Spend time with those who support you.
  • Ask for help if you need it.
  • Feed your soul with the activities, foods and people you need to stay positive.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Know that you can only do so much when helping someone else.

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