Regular readers will know we are huge advocates of mental health support for ski towns and regularly write about the risks of depression for seasonal workers in towns divided between extreme wealth and minimum wage. 

There are many problems and few genuine offered solutions from a grass roots level. Mental health support for employees would help, housing would too and the American minimum wage is laughable. But, we digress. 

Vail Resorts today announced $2 million worth of grants for emotional wellness programs in mountain resort communities. Every little bit helps.

The official release reveals that CEO Rob Katz and his spouse, Elana Amsterdam, have paid 30 grants through the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust.

“It is our hope that these grants will help improve access to much-needed services around mental health and substance abuse and reduce the stigma and misunderstanding around these issues to encourage more people to get the help they need,” said Katz.

“It is our privilege to be able to support so many outstanding organizations and meaningful programs already in place across our local communities in Colorado, Utah, Tahoe, British Columbia, Vermont and New Hampshire.”

Katz and Amsterdam have donated nearly $100 million dollars in recent years to the family’s charitable trust and foundation and named Beth Ganz executive director of the foundation in October to facilitate community engagement, sponsor research and collaboration and to work with non-profit partners to drive towards improved mental health outcomes in mountain resort communities.

When ski town life leads to depression or worse

“We are spending time getting to know the issues that each community faces around emotional wellness, and the non-profit organizations that are working to make an impact in this space every single day,” said Ganz.

The grants included in today’s announcement are:

Summit County, Colorado

  • $250,000 to Building Hope – campaign to reduce stigma; therapy scholarships; professional development for service providers
  • $170,000 to Summit Community Care Clinic – increase access to services at school-based clinics, utilizing DBT program
  • $100,000 to Family & Intercultural Resource Center – ALMAS peer support network
  • $100,000 to MindSprings Health – Mental Health First Aid training

Eagle County, Colorado

  • $240,000 to Eagle County Department of Public Health – network collaboration staff; expand mobile access program; telepsychiatry contract
  • $100,000 to Mountain Family Health – hire additional behavioral health provider
  • $89,000 to Hope Center Eagle River Valley – expand crisis services and stigma reduction program

Crested Butte, Colorado

  • $30,000 to Gunnison Valley Hospital Foundation – building renovations for therapy rooms

Summit County, Utah

  • $250,000 to Park City Community Foundation for suicide prevention, school counseling, Spanish speaking counseling services, drug court participant success program, transitional re-integration.
  • $100,000 to Children’s Justice Center – renovation of new children’s center
  • $120,000 to CONNECT Summit County as a 4:1 matching grant – new behavioral health staff and services

Truckee/North Shore Tahoe

  • $247,500 to Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation – collaboration of County services in the region; strategic planning process

South Lake Tahoe

  • $65,000 to Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless – counselor/therapy services at the Warm Room shelter; substance abuse support groups

New Hampshire & Vermont

  • $125,423 to Vermont Community Foundation – increased staffing and services of mental and behavioral health programs across the following organizations:
    • Stowe, Vermont: Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley, Capstone Community Action of Washington County, Laraway Youth and Family Services, Lamoille Restorative Center, and Pathways Vermont
    • Okemo, Vermont:  Ludlow Health Center, Springfield Turning Point Recovery Center, and Windsor County Youth Services
    • Sunapee, New Hampshire:  TLC Family Center and Greater Sullivan County Health Network

Whistler, British Columbia

  • $100,000 CAD to Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) – expand outreach; behavioral services; stigma reduction campaign
  • $75,000 CAD to Sea-to-Sky Community Services Society – post-partum peer support groups; Men’s Counseling Assistance program

Read more: Mental Health in Ski Towns series


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