With February’s annual designation as Youth Mental Health Awareness Month, mental health advocates around the country are looking to the first month of the new year to raise awareness around the importance of mental health while promoting resources to tamper post-holiday blues. Following the emotional highs and lows that come with increased socialization throughout the holiday season, feelings of depression and loneliness during the cold and dreary days of winter are all too common.
Understanding the dynamics of post-holiday blues Jenni Guentcheva and her team at Green Thumb Initiative (GTI) are doing their part. Born of necessity, Green Thumb initiative was launched in 2018 to provide individuals of all ages and walks of life, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographical locations, with resources to reduce mental and physical illness.
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"Our mission is to provide the next generation with physical and emotional resilience while avoiding the limitations of traditional psychotherapy. We combine culturally competent, evidence-based interventions and advanced horticulture, fitness and nutrition technologies with historic wisdom and multi-generational participation," said Jenni Guentcheva, Executive Director and Co-founder of Green Thumb Initiative.
By ensuring equity of access to stigma-free resources such as STEAM Education, cooking and nutritional education, therapeutic horticulture, and other innovative approaches to addressing mental and behavioral health, Green Thumb Initiative’s outside of the box, yet comprehensive approach to living healthier lives is resonating with communities across southern Colorado.
“Through equity of access to stigma-free resources our research not only demonstrates a reduction in substance abuse and misuse, and patterns of unhealthy coping mechanisms of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation; it also shows a reduction in chronic illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,” added Guentcheva.
In an effort to expand community outreach and engagement efforts, Green Thumb Initiative has partnered with Kevin Mahmalji of Two Rivers Consulting, LLC to facilitate a series of roundtable discussions with community stakeholders to map out effective strategies for increasing access to stigma-free resources.
Roundtable 1: Thursday, February 16, 2023 from 11:00 to 12:30 PM - RSVP
“Through a thoughtful and well-planned strategy that includes community outreach and engagement, Green Thumb Initiative will be better positioned to further cultivate relationships with community leaders, civic organizations and other stakeholders, which will lay the foundation for more fruitful conversations in the future,” said Mahmalji. “This includes underrepresented communities such as seniors and minorities. Outreach is where it all begins.”
Community stakeholders including mental and behavioral health professionals, therapists, horticulturists, nutritionists, researchers, educators and others who can complement Green Thumb Initiative’s mission are invited and welcomed to attend.