Supporting Action for Mental Health- Longmont, CO

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Project at a Glance

  • Issue Area Health equity
  • Engagement Approaches Community conversations/dialogues, Community meetings (townhalls, forums, etc), Engaging non-English speakers, Engaging traditionally marginalized groups, Youth Engagement
Project Description

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Supporting Action for Mental Health


In response to two local tragedies, the community of Longmont found itself searching for a better way to support residents struggling with mental health issues.  

Project Summary: 

After the tragedies, a group of 50 community members formed a coalition called Supporting Action for Mental Health (SAM). SAM is the collaborative effort of local community groups and organizations, faith communities, residents, and local government to raise awareness and address mental health issues in Longmont.  

Since its inception, SAM has put community engagement front and center in all of its work. Initially, SAM hosted ten Community Conversations in just ten week to identify, and take steps to remedy, mental health issues facing the community. The group also trained more than 50 volunteers to facilitate conversations. Three of these conversations were conducted with monolingual Spanish speakers and one with youth.  

After the initial community conversations, SAM reconvened participants to prioritize future community actions. Community members discussed and deliberated about numerous options before deciding to focus efforts on:

  • Offering community education, such as Mental Health First Aid or a local anti-stigma campaign; and
  • Increasing the availability of local mental health crisis services.  

After receiving a $200,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation, SAM became a formal project directed together by The City of Longmont, Mental Health Partners, and Longmont United Hospital. This support enabled the group to focus on mental health first aid, conversation on mental health, anti-stigma work and community education. 

Engagement Strategies:  

SAM has taken intentional actions to ensure that the work being done is inclusive, particularly for the monolingual Spanish-speaking/Latino community and for the LGBTQ community. This includes working with 10 Latino/Hispanic cultural brokers who are actively involved in City programs and nonprofits in the community. Three Latino/Hispanic cultural brokers serve on the steering committee, two serve on the Crisis Action Team, and one serves on the Education Team. There also are seven Latino/Hispanic cultural brokers on the Latino Outreach Team. These individuals represent a variety of organizations in the community, including the youth center, senior center, family resource center, victim advocates, the school district, and an organization serving individuals with disabilities. This team is focused on ensuring that the work of SAM is bilingual and culturally sensitive and identifying the best way to talk about mental health and mental health education in the Latino community.   

SAM has also made engagement of LGBTQI+ residents a priority, recognizing that mental health challenges are of particular concern in LGBTQ youth. In Boulder County, these young people have reported higher percentages of bullying, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts. To support these members of the community, SAM is going to train community members as Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) instructors and to work with OUT Boulder (our community’s organization that provides LGBTQ education, services, and advocacy) to identify individuals who could become instructors and help train others in the community in YMHFA.  


Results from the past year are very promising: 

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA):  

  • Trained and certified 14 new MHFA instructors, including four who are bilingual/bicultural  
  • Organized 36 MHFA trainings and trained close to 800 people.  

 Conversations on Mental Health:   

  • Among the most innovative of its many efforts, SAM created a series of guides in Spanish, and developed Mental Health Conversation Bags for the library that residents could check out. These bags included books and films on mental health topics with a discussion guide;  
  • Engaged nearly 200 people in conversations on mental health ; and  
  • Created Mental Health Conversation Guides on a variety of mental health topics including depression, bipolar disorder, coping with loss, and caring for our mental health.   

 Anti-Stigma Campaign:   

  • Partnered with Boulder County Public Health to streamline production and delivery of materials. Distributed approximately 800 posters in English and Spanish and approximately 1,700 postcards in English and Spanish throughout Longmont; and   
  • Participated in a seven-county bilingual mental health awareness/anti-stigma campaign called Let’s Talk.  

Educational Resources:  

  • Created an educational resource on the various levels of crisis services and interventions in Longmont, available in both English and Spanish;
  • Developed a class to further educate the public on crisis resources and how to access them; and
  • Created a monthly email communication to share information and opportunities for further education and engagement.  

Cost of Project: 200,000
Timeline: March 2015 – present
Additional Resources:
SAM Website
Longmont, CO– 2018 AAC Winner: Presentation
Primary Contact:
Julie Phillips, Project Coordinator
Supporting Action for Mental Health
City of Longmont
350 Kimbark Street
Longmont, CO 80501

[email protected] 



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