Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same. A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental and social well-being.

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk of mental illness.

A person’s mental health can change over time. When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. For example, if someone is working long hours, caring for a relative or loved one, or experiences economic hardship, they may experience poor mental health.

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States. 

  • More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.
  • 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
  • 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.

There is no single cause for mental illness. A number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness.

  • Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or history of abuse.
  • Experiences related to other ongoing (chronic) medical conditions such as cancer or diabetes.
  • Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain.
  • Use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Having feelings of loneliness or isolation.

It’s okay to not be okay. You are not alone. Take advantage of these employee and community programs to connect with others and to seek help for yourself, a family member, friend or colleague. Support groups, websites, screening tools, books, trainings, peer support, access to therapists, financial assistance and more are all available in Summit County.

BGV Minds is an employee Mental Health and Wellness Program that provides ongoing access, resources and education in support of living a balanced and healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. Information can be found here BGV Minds – ONEBGV.

Building Hope Summit County is a grassroots organization whose mission is to create a more coordinated, effective and responsive mental health system that promotes emotional health, reduces stigma and improves access to care and support to everyone in Summit County.

Anyone has the power to make a positive difference in their community when it comes to mental health and it starts by TALKING. Whether it’s a conversation on a chairlift, at a construction site, or in a high school classroom, perhaps one of the most powerful things you can do in your community is listen to someone with kindness, share openly about your own experience and start a positive dialogue around mental health. The change starts with you!

A number of individuals and departments were honored at the annual American Resort Development Association (ARDA) annual conference in Ft. Lauderdale earlier this month. Congratulations!

ARDA Gold Winners

Jessica Carver – Sales Verification Loan Officer/Quality Assurance Officer

Greg Cohen – Salesperson: In-House

Kacper Grochowalski – Salesperson: Traditional Line

Brittany Holloman – Marketing Management Leader

Jacob Roll – Resort Department Manager

Jeff Salquist – Maintenance Team Member

Eli Yoder – Resort Assistant Manager

ARDA Silver Winners

BGV Gives and “People. Planet. Prosperity.” for Breckenridge Grand Vacations – ACE Philanthropy and Community Service Award

Alex Brown – Legal and Regulatory Manager, Team Member or Team

Online Lead Generation Team – Marketing Program

Owner Relations Team – Owner/Customer Relations Team Member or Team

“I am beyond appreciative for all the hard work our teams have put in to get us to this level of national recognition year after year and amongst the best of the best in the industry. It truly is something exceptional and I could not be prouder to be part of this BGV family” said Mike Dudick, Owner/Developer.

The Boys and Girls Club of the High Rockies provides a safe and fun place for youth from 5 – 18 years old in Fairplay and Bailey. Serving more than 500 students, the Club offers a place where students can focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, good character, and citizenship. The program prioritizes five key elements for positive youth development: a safe, positive environment; fun; supportive relationships; opportunities and expectations and recognition. The program covers five core program areas including the arts, education, health and wellness, leadership and service, and sports and recreation.

The Club is offering a variety of summer programs including field trips to skate parks and wolf preserves, roller skating, swimming, and art exhibits. Also new this summer is an art therapy program. And especially important is having all the kids together in person to have fun. The expectation if for a record number of youth participating in the program and for a semblance of getting back to pre-COVID normal.

Over the past school year, the club offered weekly emotional resilience programming with local mental health providers coming to the club to support staff and youth. It was a favorite program for everyone! They have completed Positive Action/Social Emotional programming, the Stock Market experience, and Active Youth/Healthy Futures.

The Club hosted many successful events and fundraisers throughout the school year. A highlight was the chili cookoff in March. Twelve chili-chefs competed in this well attended community fundraiser.

More information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of the High Rockies can be found at, by contacting Amy Carman at or 303-204-1795.

Most of us recognize that staying active and eating healthy are important to staying fit and living a long, active life. However, you might not think much about brain health until you reach an age where it becomes more of a concern. It’s never too early to start taking care of this most vital organ. Whatever your age, there are habits you can cultivate to support and maintain brain function and according to research, even ways to reverse aging by encouraging stem cell production.

Many of the changes that can help brain health are relatively simple, to the point that you might not associate them with better cognitive function. Starting with the basics is always necessary to provide a strong foundation for health.

Just 30 minutes of daily exercise can help reduce brain cell loss! Research has shown that physical activity can slow brain aging by 10 years. Further, it has been shown that dancing is advantageous for both maintaining and reversing signs of aging in the brain because it engages multiple areas for hand-eye coordination, execution and control of voluntary movement and the planning of fine and complex motor actions. Just dance!!

Maintain Your Social Life
People that have good social ties live longer and research suggests that people who are more socially engaged and have larger social networks tend to have a high level of cognitive function. Stay social!!

Use All Your Senses
Keep your eyes and ears sharp. Not only is it important for your senses to function properly in order for the brain to process your surroundings, but this can also have a major impact on social interaction. Those with hearing impairments may be less likely to engage with family and friends, which plays a big role in both brain and mental health. Eyes and ears open!!

Keep Learning
Like a muscle, your brain needs to be exercised to stay healthy. Taking on new hobbies and learning new things is a great way to keep the brain working well. Engage in puzzles, trivia, games, reading, drawing, painting and other crafts, anything that stimulates mental activity. Exercise your brain!!

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol is helpful, but it’s important to avoid toxins that may be lurking in places you might not consider. Processed foods are full of chemicals and inflammatory oils that wreak havoc on cells throughout the body. Most conventional body products, including shampoo, lotions and deodorant contain harmful phthalates and other substances that are absorbed by the skin within seconds.  Healthy choices!!

Keep Your Levels in Check
High cholesterol and diabetes have both been linked with dementia. This is really important because there are risk factors associated with cognitive decline, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and blood sugars.  Check your levels!!

Manage Stress
Stress can kill brain cells and even reduce the size of the brain. Chronic stress has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Studies have shown that meditation, yoga and spending time in nature are effective ways to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm.  Less stress!!

Get Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells communicate with each other. In fact, your brain and body stay remarkably active while you sleep. Sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in the brain that build up while you are awake, so don’t be shy about sleeping more than eight hours.  More sleep!!

Focus on Gut Health
Research has shown that there is a vital connection between the gut and the brain. Several neurotransmitters are made in the gut, including up to 90% of serotonin. This is crucial for communication within the nervous system, but also for a healthy mood. Address digestive issues and be sure to include pre- and pro-biotics daily. Gut matters!!

Eat Right
No matter how many diet trends come and go, research supports that both the Japanese and Mediterranean-style diets are some of the best anti-inflammatory ways of eating. Healthy fats high in Omega-3, key to brain health and mood, high fiber and antioxidant-rich vegetables, grains and herbs. Focus on nutrient deficiencies then add them to your diet and supplement regimen; especially targeting protein, calcium, fiber, zinc, magnesium, iron and copper. Diet counts!!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Staying properly hydrated enables the brain to stay alert so we can keep our attention and focus. Drinking water also regulates the brain’s temperature and gets rid of toxins and dead cells. Studies have identified a link between dehydration and mood disturbances, showing that adequate hydration is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health. Drink lots of water!!

Address Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is a major contributing factor to aging in the brain and the body as a whole. Because the body’s ability to produce its own antioxidants declines with age, it is imperative to make lifestyle choices that reduce exposure to toxins and other things that create oxidative stress in the body. Proper levels of antioxidants leads to the production and function of neurotransmitters, supports the production of hormones and stem cells, which is key to keeping the brain functioning at its best. More antioxidants!

And finally, remember to Protect Your Head!  Moderate to severe head injuries, even without diagnosed concussions, increase the risk of cognitive impairment.

Every year on April 22nd, people gather all around the world to celebrate a very special holiday – Earth Day. This event has been recognized since 1970 and promotes awareness of a multitude of environmental issues on a global scale. Annually, this recognition has a different Earth Day theme and this year’s theme is Invest In Our Planet which will center on “accelerating solutions to combat our greatest threat, climate change, and to activate everyone – governments, citizens, and businesses – to do their part”. (EDO) also encourages Earth Day observers to “recognize our collective responsibility and to help accelerate the transition to an equitable, prosperous green economy for all” according to press materials EDO sent, Green Matters, ahead of the public announcement. “For Earth Day 2022, we all need to come together,” Kathleen Rogers, President of EDO, tells Green Matters exclusively in an email.

Companies around the world understand that a real shift needs to be made to make a difference in our communities and on a larger scale. As pioneers in sustainability, Breckenridge Grand Vacations (BGV) is focusing on the triple bottom line to measure success and encouraging others to get on board. This means we are taking people, planet and prosperity into account when making each and every decision. By doing so, we are committing to the health of our community and our world every single day. At BGV, we celebrate Earth Day every day. What can you do to Invest In Our Planet? Join BGV and EARTHDAY.ORG in this movement and learn all the ways you can get involved here: Earth Day: The Official Site | EARTHDAY.ORG.

Colorado Mountain College (CMC) is in the business of changing lives. They do so by providing an affordable, high-quality education right here in beautiful Summit County. CMC students and graduates are essential members of our community as they prepare your taxes, cook extraordinary meals at your favorite restaurants, own local businesses, drive collective social and environmental action, provide health care services, keep our communities safe, and teach your elementary school students.

Thanks to the generosity of friends like you and partnerships with businesses such as Breckenridge Grand Vacations, CMC is thrilled about the opportunities they can provide to students and Summit County residents!

  • Scholarships – Colorado Mountain College Foundation (CMCF) extended 111 scholarships to Summit County students this past academic year totaling $227,166 in awards. Initiated by the late Rob Millisor, Breckenridge Grand Vacations has generously supported an annual scholarship each year designed for a BGV employee or a child of a BGV employee. Interested? Additional details can be found here: BGV Scholarship.
  • Student Housing – CMC is constructing 38 units (with approximately 50-60 beds) of on-campus apartment-style student housing locally to address the difficulty many students have finding a place to live. Construction is scheduled to be completed by Fall 2023 and ready for leasing to students.
  • Health Focused Capital Campaign – CMC is responding to the growing need for nurses in our mountain community by constructing a new high-fidelity nursing simulation lab that will double the number of nursing students CMC can enroll annually. Plans also include the addition of an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)/Outdoor Education Technician (OUT) skills lab including a two-story repelling wall to ensure qualified graduates can respond during emergency care situations. CMCF seeks to raise $2 million to support the construction of this new facility that at full capacity can support 70 nursing students and 425 EMT/OUT students annually. Interested? Join us either as a donor or a student in EMT or nursing!
  • Affordable & Adventurous – The tuition for a bachelor’s degree at CMC is one of the lowest in the country and is the lowest in Colorado. CMC offers 7 bachelor degrees, 54 associate degrees, 77 certificate programs and international Study Abroad trips. Check out the 2022 class offerings!
  • Common Reader – Free event with Colorado’s own Craig Childs, America’s finest naturalist and adventurer. His book, The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild, recounts dramatic, face-to-face meetings with sharks, bears, pumas, and winged species. Join us either in-person on March 30th at 7pm at the Breckenridge campus or live stream. Need the book? Contact Sarah Grant

Colorado Mountain College is looking forward to a big year in Summit County and whether you join CMC for a one-night culinary cooking class, enroll as a full-time student, volunteer as a mentor, or provide pathways for students to pursue their dreams and enhance our economy – CMC is a college that is here for you!

To learn more about CMC Foundation or to give, visit or contact Sarah Grant at

CMC Summit 2017 Graduates are congratulated follwing their graduation Friday during a ceremony in Keystone.

Josie Estrada (left) poses with her daughter Annabel Jaurez and granddaughter Daniela Jaurez. Josie attended CMC from 1996-2003 taking computer and first aid classes. She came back in 2012 to earn her associate of Spanish degree, which he completed in 2015. Annabel began taking classes toward an elementary education degree in 2014. After a few year break, she returned in 2019 to finish what she started.

Graduates of Colorado Mountain College Leadville’s ski area operations program celebrate their commencement by skiing down Dutch Henry Hill following the Spring 2021 commencement ceremony on Friday, May 7, 2021. Photo by Andy Colwell

Fall 2022 Study Abroad program to Nepal and Everest Base Camp

Timberline Adult Day Services is Summit County’s only respite care facility serving adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities. Respite care is temporary institutional care of a sick, elderly, or disabled person, providing relief for their usual caregiver. Respite care enables the individuals and families with adults in need of supervision to remain living in our community, where resources such as assisted living facilities simply do not exist.

Timberline’s program benefits both the individual and the caregiver by focusing on person-centered care, so that the entire family unit can function more effectively. Since opening their doors in 2003, Timberline has provided much-needed supervised care which includes socialization, life skills training and physical and mental exercise. Their dedicated team is committed to organizing both in-facility activities as well as a variety of community outings including snowshoeing, nature walks, adaptive biking, boating, and horseback riding.

Timberline’s diverse activity programming is made possible with the help of generous community partners and individual donors. Timberline is committed to continuing to provide excellent respite care within the community for many years to come.

Timberline is a nonprofit, IRS designated 501(c)(3), dependent on donations from the community to continue providing services for Summit County residents and visitors. Although they are a certified SADS center which allows them to receive payment through Medicare Waiver programs, the operational costs exceed the reimbursement funds by approximately 60%. This means that Timberline must raise approximately $200,000 annually to provide their services. Volunteering at Timberline is another way to support the organization. To learn more, donate or volunteer for Timberline, click on their website:  Summit County Respite Care | Caregiver Support | Adult Day Care (