(Contest Nominee) MENTAL HEALTH CENTER OF DENVER Is Dedicated to Making Recovery Happen

Citywide Banks employees have nominated seven Colorado charities to compete in its next Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place on Facebook from November 3-17, 2014. The community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between nominees based on the voting results. 

From infants to seniors, and from those that are mildly depressed to those facing suicidal thoughts, the Mental Health Center of Denver has a program and a treatment plan for anyone and everyone suffering from any type of mental illness.

“We want to reach out to the people in our community who are living with a mental illness or an emotional disturbance and we want to help them have the fullest, most productive lives that they can,” explained Director of Fundraising Barbara Shaw.

Founded 25 years ago, the Mental Health Center of Denver is a private not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves the mental health needs of the citizens in the City and County of Denver. Prior to its formation, there were four independent mental health centers serving the four quadrants of the city. But that arrangement proved problematic, and people who needed help were falling through the cracks.  So, former mayor, Federico Pena, by executive order, created the Mental Health Center of Denver in 1989 to combine all four community mental health centers into one that would serve the whole city and county of Denver.

The Mental Health Center of Denver has three main program areas that cover the breadth of the community’s behavioral health and recovery needs. The first one is an Adult Recovery Services program that includes helping people find housing, residential treatment centers, a statewide HIV and mental health program and other therapy treatments. Next is Child and Family Services, which includes programs starting from before a child’s birth through their early adult years (16-24), and everything in between. And their last division is for Rehabilitation and Reaching Recovery that includes their drop-in centers, resource centers, and all employment programs that help people get ready to go back to school or work.

“There are many times mental illness interrupts a person’s life just at the end of high school or college, just as they’re getting an education or training to move into the work force. That’s when they get derailed. So we help people get their mental illness under control and then help them get their lives back by providing support to go back to school or find a job,” says Shaw.

What makes MHCD unique is its focus on, and belief in, recovery. They feel that like physical ailments, people can recover or be in recovery from a mental illness. “We’re not just helping people maintain. We’re not just medicating people. We want them to recover and that means getting their lives back, do whatever it is they started to do before mental illness derailed them, whether that’s going back to school, going to work, getting married, having a family, whatever that is,” explains Shaw.

As a not-for-profit organization, they’re always interested in financial donations but Shaw says the community can best help their cause by spreading the word about their services and, even more importantly, educating themselves and others about mental illness and the importance of good mental health.

“We need to fight the stigma. Mental illness is no different than a physical illness. It’s just that a mental illness impacts your brain. It’s a disease of the brain but it should not be stigmatized any more than my chronic asthma or my husband’s diabetes.”

Another Reason to Vote for MHCD
Shaw had some trouble figuring out exactly where a $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go but two options emerged:  the Gifts of Joy Holiday Gift Drive, which provides a small gift for some of the children and adults they serve, and their campaign to raise funds for Flu Vaccinations because “flu to a person who already has a weakened immune system from other issues can be a significant thing.”  “There are just so many places we could use it,” she says. “Either way, the money will make a powerful impact on our community.”

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.MHCD.org or follow the Mental Health Center of Denver on Facebook.


How to Give MHCD a Hand-Up

  1. “LIKE” THEM ON FACEBOOK during the November contest (charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)
  2. VOTE FOR THEM on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page (charity nominee with most votes will get $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks)
  3. POST A COMMENT about what you like about Mental Health Center of Denver on the Citywide Banks Facebook page
  4. SHARE posts about this contest and MHCD with your family, friends, and coworkers (tell them to support MHCD)

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest
For more than 50 years, family owned, Colorado focused Citywide Banks has been a passionate champion of our local charities. Our Charity Hand-Up Contests spotlight seven Colorado causes nominated by bank employees. Then, based on a 16-day community vote on Facebook, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations to the nominees. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/contest/.

How to Cast Your Vote – November 3-17, 2014
The contest is open to the general public within Colorado (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 16-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

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