GOVERNOR APPOINTS EL PASO COUNTY COMMISSIONER TO BOARD OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS

El Paso County Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez, Jr. was appointed by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to serve on the Colorado Board of Veterans’ Affairs. The announcement came Sept. 6 as the Governor announced appointments to six boards and commissions.

After learning of his appointment, Commissioner Gonzalez said, “As El Paso County is host to five military installations, including three in District 4, I was pleased to receive the news that our county would have a voice on this board. El Paso County is home to more than 98,000 veterans, the largest veteran population in the state, and has a rich tradition in supporting the military. I intend to continue to help provide that support for all of our veterans.”

Commissioner Gonzalez is the District 4 representative on the Board of County Commissioners, serving the people of southern and eastern El Paso County. Gonzalez is a retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel who graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1992. His background includes a 20-year career as an Air Force intelligence officer. He retired from the military in 2012.

The seven-member Colorado Board of Veterans' Affairs studies the problems facing veterans and makes recommendations to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Division of Veterans’ Affairs, concerning programs needed to assist veterans.

LOCAL AGENCIES LAUNCH MAN THERAPY CAMPAIGN TO BREAK THE STIGMA SURROUNDING MEN’S MENTAL HEALTH

El Paso County Public Health and partnering community agencies announced the launch of a new countywide campaign, Man Therapy, targeted at reducing the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.

In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the launch was held Sept. 13 at the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners meeting.

In Colorado, there were 1,175 deaths by suicide in 2017, the highest rate of suicide ever recorded in Colorado. In El Paso County, 163 residents died by suicide in 2017, and men accounted for 75 percent of those deaths. At the announcement Thursday, speakers addressed the response in El Paso County to prevent suicide deaths. Speakers included representatives from El Paso County Public Health, El Paso County Coroner’s Office, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Man Therapy promotes resources that provide men and their loved ones with the education, tools and community connections needed to empower them to take control of their overall wellness and mental health. Man Therapy reshapes the conversation about mental health, using humor to cut through stigma and encouraging men to seek help.

“This campaign goes beyond awareness to engage men and draw them into the conversation,” said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health’s interim director. “We feel it is critical to bring this important tool to El Paso County to reduce the stigma around men’s mental health and reach both men and their loved ones with life-saving resources.”

The campaign is funded by a grant from the Colorado Department of Human Services. Man Therapy initially launched in Colorado on in 2012 as the result of a unique partnership between Cactus, a Denver-based advertising agency and the Office of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This groundbreaking new approach to men’s mental health issues has since launched in several states across the U.S., as well as internationally. More than 800,000 visitors from all over the world have visited mantherapy.org; and 77 percent of men who have taken the online self-assessment have reported they will likely use the recommended techniques.

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