In the News

In the News

WellPower in the News

Find WellPower (formerly Mental Health Center of Denver) in news media all over Colorado and nationally. Read below for previews of articles, and click on the links to read or watch the original stories.

'It shatters your sense of safety, belonging:' LGBTQ doctor encourages mental health care after Club Q shooting

CBS News | November 21, 2022

The mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs is profoundly impacting the LGBTQ+ community and beyond. It is crucial that Coloradans take care of our mental health in times like this and know there is no shame in doing so.

CBS News Colorado Anchor Mekialaya White sat down for an in-studio interview with Dr. Carl Clark, the president and CEO of WellPower, formerly known as the Mental Health Center of Denver, for a candid discussion on how best to cope going forward.

Read and watch more

Study Shows Housing-First Approach Reduces Interactions With Police in Denver

Denver Westword | October 25, 2022

A new study from the liberal-leaning Urban Institute shows that when Denver takes a housing-first approach to homelessness, individuals who become housed through these programs have far fewer interactions with police and are arrested less often than those who remain chronically homeless.

"We don’t have to keep going the way that it is. There is a better solution," says Sarah Gillespie, a lead researcher for the Urban Institute's study on the nexus between policing and individuals housed through Denver's widely-acclaimed Social Impact Bond program.

Focus On Housing Denver Homeless Cut Arrests, Police Time, Study Says

National Criminal Justice Association | October 25, 2022

A new study from the Urban Institute shows that when Denver took a housing-first approach to homelessness, individuals who become housed have far fewer interactions with police and are arrested less often than those who remain chronically homeless.

"We don’t have to keep going the way that it is. There is a better solution," says Sarah Gillespie, a researcher for the Urban Institute's study on the nexus between policing and individuals housed through Denver's Social Impact Bond program.

Aurora’s co-responder program has one clinician. She's also the program manager

Denver7 | October 5, 2022

AURORA, Colo. – Mental health professionals graduating from college may not anticipate wearing a bulletproof vest to work every day, but that’s exactly what clinicians on Aurora’s Crisis Response Team are required to do.

“It's definitely not the traditional kind of counselor or social work role,” Courtney Tassin, Aurora's Crisis Intervention Program Manager, said.

Aurora has two crisis intervention programs.

Angela Oakley Powers the Pursuit of Well-Being

American Healthcare Leader | September 30, 2022

Among its challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated mental health concerns for many people across the country and around the globe. However, it also brought conversations around mental health and well-being to the forefront, catalyzing a shift in the way we approach care. “The pandemic really opened people’s eyes and made it OK to talk about mental health issues,” explains Angela Oakley, vice president and chief financial officer of WellPower, the Colorado-based community behavioral health organization formerly known as the Mental Health Center of Denver.

WellPower Selects Eleos Health to Empower Frontline Providers with Augmented Intelligence for Behavioral Healthcare

Cision PR Newswire | September 27, 2022

Eleos Health, the leader in CareOps Automation for behavioral health, today announced that WellPower, a national leader in behavioral health, will make Eleos Health's voice-based, augmented intelligence available for all of its clinicians to reduce administrative burden and give them more time to focus on care. Eleos Health will be utilized for both in person and virtual sessions.

C-Suite Awards winner: Michael Niyompong

Denver Business Journal | September 23, 2022

Congratulations to Michael Niyompong, our VP & Chief Engagement Officer, on his 2022 C-Suite award from the Denver Business Journal. These awards highlight game-changing executives in the Denver metro area successfully implementing their company's vision.

Park rangers: The unseen frontline for mental health

9News | September 16, 2022

Our park rangers are a largely unseen group on the frontlines of our mental health crisis.

Their role has morphed over the years, but rangers have always prided themselves on being a friend in the park.

"I'm a good ear, a good shoulder, whatever is needed," District Park Ranger Supervisor Jodie Marozas said.  Now, she finds herself helping people with addiction, mental health crises and people experiencing homelessness. She never expected it would such a big part of her job but said she bends over backwards to help.

Natural language processing is boosting behavioral healthcare

Healthcare IT News | September 14, 2022

WellPower, a Denver-based community behavioral health provider organization, aims to support and promote the connection between a person's mental health and overall well-being. Its services are designed to help children, families and adults in the Denver community create a path to living happier and healthier lives.

The provider organization is an early adopter of the form of artificial intelligence known as natural language processing, or NLP. NLP does more than transcribe the spoken word or text – it understands it and enables computer systems to use it.

The battle for Union Station: Co-response teams mix compassion with policing

The Denver Gazette | September 12, 2022

Mental health clinician Lara Cladny stands in Union Station’s downstairs bus terminal, trying to reason with a disheveled, barefoot woman. It's a midday in early August. The middle-aged woman shouts at Cladny to get out of her face.

Several RTD police officers now flank Cladny, as the encounter escalates. But she remains calmly persistent in her effort to find out if she can connect the woman to needed services. The woman screams at the mental health worker to shut up.

Cladny backs away. “Absolutely, I can do that,” she says.

Denver fire, park rangers may add mental health clinicians

NewsBreak | September 11, 2022

A $2.8 million grant from Caring for Denver Foundation will pay for three additional mental health clinicians in the fire department and park rangers program.

The clinicians will be part of Denver’s co-responder program, which already serves the police department. With the program, licensed mental health clinicians from WellPower, formerly Mental Health Center Denver, respond to calls for service involving people with mental health emergencies. Those who encounter clinicians as part of the co-responder program receive case management.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

9News | September 6, 2022

Steve Fisher and Marchell Taylor with WellPower share mental health resources for Coloradans during National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Mental Well-Being & the Workplace: Embracing Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month

CoBiz Magazine | September 2, 2022

According to the Harvard Business Review, over the past twenty years, suicide deaths in the United States have increased by 35% with the majority of suicide deaths occurring among working-age individuals. Also alarming, Colorado ranks seventh in the nation for deaths by suicide. Because most people spend the majority of their waking hours in the workplace, employers, managers and co-workers have a unique opportunity to help support and offer resources to people who may be at risk. 

U.S. Virtual Visits Market to Reach $22 Billion by 2027. Telehealth Kiosk Positively Impacting the Market Growth - Arizton

Yahoo!Finance | August 3, 2022

According to Arizton’s latest research report, U.S. virtual visits market is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 27% during 2022-2027. An increase in the growth rate of virtual visits can be observed in the US. The introduction of virtual visits has led to cost-effective treatment, high adoption of home healthcare services, and low expenditure on infrastructure development. The adoption of virtual visit services is expected to rise with advances in technology and the high penetration of internet connectivity with greater speed and smart gadgets.

Denver barber helping to chip away at mental health stigma

9News | August 3, 2022

Nikki Mitchell is a Denver barber who is also working to fight stigmas surrounding mental health.

These First-Responder Superheroes Don’t Wear Capes or Even Uniforms

Oprah Daily | July 29, 2022

A man, silently, was struggling. I was walking down Broadway, in New York. People flowed gracefully around and past him and did not stop to look. Then gradually, a small group of concerned passers-by formed around him in a patchwork semi-circle. Any attempt to help him up, or to speak with him, he waved away dismissively. Each time he tried to stand, his legs buckled, and he sank back down to his odd equipoise.

How 911 dispatchers decide between mental health vs. police response

FOX31 | July 27, 2022

The people on the other end of the line when you call 911 in an emergency have never had more options in choosing who should respond to a crisis, as Colorado trends toward providing more targeted options when responding to behavioral, mental health and substance abuse-related calls.

This is exemplified in Denver, where the city’s STAR (Support Team Assistance Response) Program has been running for two years and recently received funding to expand.

Denver extends holistic housing program funded by private money, federal grant

The Denver Gazette | June 29, 2022

A new Denver program will provide permanent housing support and other health services, such as substance abuse treatment, to at least 125 people experiencing chronic homelessness in the city, officials announced today.

The program, called Denver Housing to Health, will take advantage of $11.75 million from six private funders and up to $5.5 million in grant money from the U.S. Treasury, according to a news release from the city's Department of Housing Stability.

Denver announces expansion of supportive housing program

ABC Denver 7 | June 29, 2022

On Wednesday, Denver city leaders and several nonprofits announced the launch of a new pay-for-success supportive housing program that will help 125 people experiencing chronic homelessness.

City officials say the Denver Housing to Health (H2H) Program will build off the success of the Denver Social Impact Bond by leveraging local housing resources, impact investment dollars, and up to $5.5 million in the form of a Social Impact Partnership Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA) grant from the U.S. Department of Treasury to house individuals while reducing taxpayer expenses.

Denver expands its housing-first service model to 125 unhoused people

Denverite | June 29, 2022

A decade after enacting an urban camping ban and with homelessness on the rise, Denver is expanding its housing-first approach to solving homelessness by expanding the Housing to Health program, which will help 125 chronically homeless residents receive services and shelter.

According to the latest Annual State of Homelessness Report from the Metro Denver Homelessness Initiative, 32,233 individuals accessed services related to homelessness between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, in the metro area.

Mayor Hancock Announces Extension of Supportive Housing Program

Denver Gov | June 29, 2022

Providing homes and wraparound supportive services to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness has had a lasting impact in Denver. Lives are changed, stability is achieved, and taxpayer expenses for costly emergency services are significantly reduced. These are the results seen through Denver’s recent Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond (SIB) initiative. And now, a new innovative partnership including the federal, state, and local governments, nonprofit organizations, healthcare systems, impact investment, and philanthropic partners is taking this model to the next level.

Mental Health Center of Denver Launches New Virtual Therapy Service & Rebrands As WellPower

OpenMinds | June 15, 2022

Non-profit Mental Health Center of Denver introduced a new virtual therapy service, TherapyDirect, and announced had rebranded as WellPower. The rebranding is intended to reflect the organization’s expanded services and to promote the connection between a person’s mental health and overall well-being.

With TherapyDirect, metro Denver residents ages 18 and older can access a WellPower counselor, schedule up to three free visits when support is needed most and get follow-up recommendations and referrals. Therapists and peer-based support counselors are available for full 55-minute sessions and are trained in intervention care, ensuring each session is impactful. TherapyDirect is easy to access from any personal technology device or can be used from kiosks around the Denver community.

Pilot Program Finds Removing Police from Some 911 Calls Reduced Crime

Campus Safety | June 14, 2022

A pilot program in Denver that replaced police officers with healthcare workers to respond to certain 911 calls reduced low-level crimes by 34%.

Deploying Mental Health Workers for Low-level 911 Calls May Lower Crime

American Association for the Advancement of Science | June 13, 2022

A Denver program that relies on health care responders to handle emergency calls for less serious, nonviolent incidents reduced crime during its pilot period in 2020, according to a new study.

The findings, which were published in the June 10 issue of Science Advances, indicate that the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) program reduced reports of crimes including trespassing, public disorder, and resisting arrest by 34% during this period and did not increase reports of more serious or violent crimes.

Study: Denver’s STAR program reduced crime, costs

FOX31 | June 8, 2022

Denver’s Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) program has been operating in the Mile High City now for two years. A new study shows how effective the program was in reducing low-level crime and the cost of responding to certain calls during its initial six-month pilot.

STAR started in June of 2020. The group currently operates one van that goes out to calls with Denver Health paramedics and mental health clinicians with the Mental Health Center of Denver for low-level 911 calls like trespassing, drug overdoses, mental health crises and more.

Can Dr. Morgan Medlock Mend Colorado’s Fractured Mental Health Care System?

5280 Magazine | June 2022

Dr. Morgan Medlock is no stranger to a crisis. Until recently, she served as chief medical officer and director of crisis services for Washington, D.C.’s Department of Behavioral Health, for which she oversaw the agency’s only 24/7 psychiatric emergency services facility. So confronting a problem as urgent as mental health care in Colorado should be right in her wheelhouse.

Clinic using esketamine to treat depression

9NEWS | May 30, 2022

When Eric arrives to his appointment at WellPower in Denver (formerly the Mental Health Center of Denver), he makes sure he has his essentials: a blanket, a sleep mask and his headphones.

It's not exactly an expected checklist for a trip to a clinic. But it helps Eric with what's considered a unique treatment.

Mental health services helping Colorado's Latino community after Texas school shooting

9NEWS | May 26, 2022

The shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school happened in Uvalde, Texas -- a community that is predominantly Latino.

As more of the victims' names are released, it's revealed that those who lost their lives are Latino as well.

"It's impacted our community members, but it's also impacted our staff," said Ana Vizoso, the Vice President of Health and Wellness at Servicios de la Raza. "We've held safe spaces for not only staff to process, but for community members who may be struggling emotionally to be able to process the event."

'Defund the Police' Is Dead But Other Reform Efforts Thrive In U.S. Cities

Newsweek | May 24, 2022

Two years after George Floyd was killed, a surge in violent crime in major cities across the country has effectively ended the "defund the police" movement that sprung up in the wake of his death. A new national poll by the University of Massachusetts Amherst finds that just 31 percent of Americans now support transferring funds from state and local police departments to community social services, a seven-point drop from a year ago. Meanwhile, with crime a hot-button issue in the upcoming midterm elections, moderate Democrats are more likely to call for additional money for law enforcement than for diverting it—among them, President Joe Biden, who called for a $30 billion increase in law enforcement spending in his State of the Union address in March to "fund our police and give them all the tools they need."

2022 business goal: Evolve from supporting employee mental health to powering employee well-being

Denver Business Journal | May 13, 2022

Each year, May, Mental Health Awareness Month, rolls around and many businesses renew their commitment to support employee mental health in the workplace. This year, we’d like to encourage employers to go one step further and consider the potential impact of not just supporting employee mental health but in powering employee well-being.

This intentional shift from supporting mental health to empowering well-being is behind Mental Health Center of Denver’s recent name change to WellPower. The change was made to reflect the nonprofit organization’s expanded services and to promote the vital connection between a person’s mental health and overall well-being.

Mental Health Center of Denver rebrands to WellPower

Colorado Politics | May 11, 2022

May is National Mental Health Month, which represents perfect timing for president and chief executive officer Dr. Carl Clark to announce that Mental Health Center of Denver has changed its name to WellPower.

“In 2019, we began exploring a rebranding effort to find a name that better reflects the breadth and depth of our services and promotes the vital connection between a person’s mental health and overall wellbeing,” Clark explained. “While the name Mental Health Center of Denver has worked well for us in the past, it no longer tells people all that we have to offer. So, we updated out brand – our name, our logo, our colors – to better show our values, our culture and our mission.”

A recipe for hope: Sally's Café

9NEWS | March 22, 2022

Jordan Chavez takes us inside the heart of Sally's Café, and introduces us to a woman with a special recipe for hope.

Mental Health & Compassion Fatigue

Mile High Magazine | March 22, 2022

Clinician Jen Jackson was interviewed by Murphy Houston for Bonneville Radio's Mile High Living show about mental health and compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue and mental health - Mental Health Center of Denver

FOX31 | March 8, 2022

Cari Ladd talks about compassion fatigue and its impact on our mental health.

Watch the full story

 

Thousands of calls later, Denver's acclaimed program that provides an alternative to police response is expanding

The Denver Post | February 20, 2022

Since June 2020, the mental health clinicians and paramedics working for Denver's Support Team Assisted Response program have covered hundreds of miles in their white vans responding to 911 calls instead of police officers.

They've responded to reports of people experiencing psychotic breaks and people screaming for no apparent reason. They've helped a woman experiencing homelessness who couldn't find a place to change, so she undressed in an alley. They've helped suicidal people, schizophrenic people, people using drugs. They've handed out water and socks. They've helped connect people to shelter, food and resources.

Read the full story

Denver's co-responder STAR program is expanding after receiving additional funding

FOX31 | February 16, 2022

An up-and-coming program that sends clinicians and paramedics to lower-level emergency calls has seen enough success in its first couple of years that Denver leaders voted to give them more money to expand through 2022.

Denver's Support Team Assistance Response program started in June of 2020. They currently operate one van that goes out to calls with Denver Health paramedics and mental health clinicians with the Mental Health Center of Denver.

"It's a creative response to the community's growing needs," Chris Richardson with the Mental Health Center of Denver said. Richardson is the director of STAR and has been a part of its inception since a group of Denver stakeholders traveled to Eugene, Oregon to see a local co-responder program in that community.

Read the full story

'A big step in the right direction': Denver extends STAR alternative policing program citywide

The Gazette | February 14, 2022

Denver is expanding its Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program citywide, providing civilian-led emergency response to low-level, nonviolent situations as an alternative to police.

The expansion comes after the City Council unanimously approved a nearly $1.4 million contract with Mental Health Center of Denver on Monday, funding the STAR program through the end of 2022. Under the contract, Mental Health Center of Denver will provide emergency medical technicians and behavioral health clinicians to staff the program.

"This is an important contract for our community to celebrate," Councilwoman Robin Kniech said Monday. "We have models that work, our challenge is often that they are not to the scale that we need them. … STAR is an example of a program that has worked."

Read the full story

Denver Expands STAR Program, Resources For Mental Health

CBS4 | February 14, 2022

People in Denver experiencing mental health crises will soon have more help. Denver City Council voted to expand the Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) program, allowing resources like additional behavioral health professionals to engage with those experiencing homelessness and substance abuse.

The STAR program was created in 2020 as an alternative option for a mental health professional and paramedic to respond to low-level calls instead of a police officer.

Read the full story

After starting out with just one van, Denver's STAR program will expand to six this year

Denverite | February 14, 2022

The program isn't quite two years old, but the Support Team Assisted Response fleet is set to expand this year as it continues providing an alternative to sending cops to specific emergency calls.

The program, better known as STAR, currently has three vehicles sending a clinician and a paramedic instead of police for 911 responses. It launched as a pilot in June 2020 with just one van, only serving some parts of the city. Last fall, it expanded its coverage area to the entire city, and this year, it aims to have six total vans.

On Monday, the Denver City Council voted unanimously to approve a $1.4 million contract with the Mental Health Center of Denver to continue operating the STAR program and help it expand. The contract runs through December.

Read the full story

Mental health tips for Valentine's Day

9News | February 10, 2022

Cari Ladd with the Mental Health Center of Denver discusses the importance of relationships and how to avoid disappointment on Valentine's Day. Watch the video on 9News' website.

Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation announces 2022 9NEWS Leader of the Year finalists

9News | February 7, 2022

9NEWS and the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation are proud to announce the three finalists for the 2022 9NEWS Leader of the Year award.

  • Janine Davidson, President, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Michael Niyompong, Vice President and Chief Engagement Officer, Mental Health Center of Denver
  • Lydia Prado, Executive Director, Lifespan Local

This year marks the 22nd year that 9NEWS will honor a Colorado leader for contributions to the community. 9NEWS again partnered with the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation to select and honor this individual.

Read the full story

In Denver's brutal housing market, hitting the voucher lottery might not be enough

The Denver Post | January 27, 2022

It was 12:01 a.m. when an annual ritual for some low-income Denverites began anew.

The Denver Housing Authority opened its lottery for Section 8 housing choice vouchers, the coveted federal benefit that can cover most or all of a lucky applicant's rent.

For the next 48 hours in mid-September, 19,899 people filed online applications for vouchers, authority officials said. Based on budget projections for 2021, each of those applicants has a roughly 6% chance of having their applications pulled.

That's just Step 1 in the long, fraught process for those hoping to find housing in Denver through one of the country's cornerstone programs for housing low-income families and staving off homelessness.

Read the full story

CVS Health to invest $6.5 million in affordable housing in Denver

Chain Drug Review | January 21, 2022

CVS Health announced Friday it will invest $6.5 million with Boston Financial Investment Management to build a 36-unit permanent supportive housing community, known as Charity's House Place, for individuals experiencing homelessness and people with physical, intellectual, and/or developmental disabilities in the Five Points neighborhood in Denver. The investment is part of CVS Health's commitment to advancing health equity and addressing social determinants of health in underserved communities.

"Our commitment to advancing health equity is grounded in our company purpose to bring our heart to every moment of health," said David Casey, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health. "By addressing social determinants of health at the community level, like we are in Denver, we're helping people live healthier and creating positive change all around them."

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