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The Wellness Court in the 8th Judicial District in Larimer County today celebrated its 10th anniversary as the first mental health court to receive accreditation from the Colorado Problem Solving Court Statewide Advisory Committee.

Today the Board of Larimer County Commissioners at their regular Administrative Matters meeting recognized officials and staff from the 8Th Judicial District Courts, Larimer County Community Justice Alternatives, SummitStone Health Partners, and community partners for their tireless efforts in making the mental health courts successful.

“The Wellness Court is an incredible and special court that meets every Thursday afternoon. It provides people in our community a safe place where they have space to learn about themselves, care for their wellness, and how to achieve and maintain sobriety and balance with their mental health treatment,” said 8th Judicial District Chief Judge Susan Blanco.  “There’s a lot of stigma associated with mental health, we break that down and create community among the people there for a shared experience and a desire for change in their lives.”

The mental health courts are also a beacon of hope for those in our community who need help with mental health issues.

“This is so important not just for the people going through this process, but for our whole community. It helps us heal and become a healthy community.  This is a great example of how we take care of people,” said Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens. “And it’s all of us working together to make this work. That’s how we do things  --- we know no one can do this work alone. We have to do this work as a community,” said Stephens.

Also known as problem-solving courts, the 8th Judicial District in Larimer County currently has five problem-solving courts that operate under the wellness courts umbrella to help address a variety of issues. The DUI recovery court has also been accredited.

When clients enter the Wellness Court, they are given a small stone with the word “courage” on it. Clients then receive a stone for each specific part of their journey throughout the program. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to enter the program since it requires an individual to want to talk about the issues that made them come into contact with the criminal justice system. People who enter the program want to have a better understanding of themselves which leads to a better life.  

The wellness court began in 2014 as a partnership between Larimer County, the 8th Judicial District, SummitStone Health Partners, and Community Justice Alternatives to address the challenges of individuals with high mental health needs when they enter the criminal justice system.

“It takes a tremendous amount of work to get all this organized to help others. For those that take this path, there’s always hope for a better future,” said Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally.

It takes a partnership of many to make the Wellness Court Program successful. Law enforcement, probation, and Community Justice Alternatives and many others are all part of the wellness courts and work together to assist clients to help them change their lives.

“This is a testament to really smart, caring, compassionate folks here in Larimer County and all our partners, that are critical to address these issues,” said Larimer County Commissioner John Kefalas.

Published on: 
Tuesday, July 2, 2024 - 2:05pm

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