By Jami Hayes

YouthZone Recognizes National Mental Health Counseling Month


May is National Mental Health Counseling Month, dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of counseling and resources available to those seeking help for mental health issues. It is important to recognize that mental health is not something to be taken lightly, and that access to quality counseling services is essential to maintain good mental health and wellbeing.

Mental health disorders can have a profound impact on the individuals who suffer from them, as well as their families, friends, and communities. They may experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, difficulty with relationships, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty managing emotions. They may also have difficulty functioning in everyday life, leading to a decreased quality of life and ability to maintain a job, steady income, and housing. Additionally, mental health disorders can lead to an increased risk of physical health issues, substance use disorders, and suicide.

Although mental health disorders can affect people of all ages, genders, and social backgrounds, certain groups of people may be more likely to experience them than others. These groups include people who have experienced trauma, those in lower socioeconomic statuses and minority groups, those who are highly stressed or overwhelmed, those with a family history of mental illness, those with certain medical conditions, and people who use substances.

According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, there were an estimated 29,000 Colorado youths aged 017 who received mental health counseling in 2022, and an estimated 27,000 youths aged 017 who are receiving mental health counseling in 2023. Colorado has a total estimated need for mental health services of 116,000 youths aged 017 in 2022, and an estimated need of 111,000 youths aged 017 in 2023. The need is clearly defined, but the resources are not always easily accessible to everyone.

YouthZone has been dedicated to supporting youth for over 45 years in the Roaring Fork and Grand River Valley communities of Colorado. It is with immense gratitude that YouthZone has received substantial funding through state partnerships to increase mental health services for youth and families. We are seeking partnerships with independent contractors to work with YouthZone clients and families.  Services can be provided in person at any YouthZone location, at the office of the contractor or virtually. Please email [email protected] to inquire further.

We provide comprehensive assessment and advocacy services to ensure that all adolescents receive the support and resources they need to be successful and build healthy relationships. YouthZone offers a variety of services to support adolescents, such as parent counseling and education, family resources, and comprehensive assessments. Additionally, we provide access to resources, referrals, peer groups, and educational workshops to give youth the support they need to thrive. Our team of professionals is committed to helping youth and families reach their full potential and foster healthy relationships.

Mental health counseling provides adults and young people alike with a safe place to discuss their feelings and experiences, build resilience and selfesteem, develop healthy coping skills, and form healthier relationships. It also benefits the wider community by reducing stigma and creating a more supportive environment, leading to increased acceptance, inclusion, and understanding. It creates a safe environment to explore emotions and make positive life changes that help create a full life.

YouthZone is a great resource for youth to access mental health counseling services. Our counselors work with youth to understand their needs and develop an individualized plan to help them manage their mental health issues. Counselors are trained to provide a safe, supportive environment where youth can feel comfortable expressing their feelings and sharing their struggles. They provide oneonone counseling as well as family and peer counseling, so youth can build a strong support system and learn from the experiences of other youth. Counselors also provide a range of educational resources to help youth better understand mental health and how to cope with issues in a healthy way.


YouthZone is a family-first nonprofit that supports parents and guardians, families, and adolescents. From Aspen to Parachute, we offer parent counseling and education services, family resources, and comprehensive assessment and advocacy to inspire healthy relationships between youth, families, and communities. To learn more about how YouthZone can help, please call us at 970-945-9300

Jami Hayes, as the Executive Director at YouthZone, brings over 20 years of hands-on working experience with youth and families. Her various roles in schools as kindergarten, first grade, special education, instructional coach, and leader provide a unique perspective into the needs of communities. Through the lens of social justice and equity, she truly understands that health and wellness begin at the heart of our communities with our youth and families. Jami believes that positive community engagement is the driving force in behavior and mindset change. All youth are worthy and capable of growth which leads to positive generational change for families and communities.