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Gunnison Valley Health's Foundation is Awarded $75,000 for Additional Peer Support Services

Gunnison Valley Health’s peer support specialist program will be funded and expanded to seven days a week, thanks to a grant awarded by the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust, founded by Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz and his wife Elana Amsterdam.

Gunnison Valley Health’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Santilli said this grant will allow for peer support specialists to be based in the Gunnison Valley Hospital emergency department to connect with people most at risk in our community 24 hours/7 days a week.

“Navigating behavioral health in Crested Butte and Gunnison can be confusing, and the peer support specialists program is a lifeline that connects people at risk with the care they need,” said Mr. Santilli. “We are fortunate to have trialed this program in our community with amazing results and delighted the program will continue as well as be expanded to include a 24 hour seven days a week service.”

“This is one of the most impactful frontline programs to help those people in moments of crisis and we are thankful for the support from the Katz Amsterdam Foundation who want to improve access to these types of services in our community.” he said.

Last week, the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust announced significant contributions totaling more than $2.8 million to further strengthen emotional wellness programs in more than ten mountain communities where Vail Resorts operate.

Over this past year, the Katz Amsterdam Foundation has focused on connecting mountain communities on the topic of mental and behavioral health. In May, the Foundation hosted a convening of 60 mental health professionals from these communities, facilitating a conversation about similar challenges each community faces such as substance abuse, feelings of isolation, availability of providers and mental health outcomes. Following the meeting, community stakeholders agreed to align on a set of shared measures to support collective learning – focusing on progress in the following areas: social dynamics; mental health attitudes and knowledge; provider capacity; and affordability and accessibility of care.

“It has been inspiring to see the shared desire that exists across each of our mountain communities to make a difference, to help others and to ignite a passion for creating truly healthy communities,” said Katz. “We are thrilled to be able to help unite so many incredible organizations and support their collective efforts to improve access to much-needed health services and reduce the stigma and misunderstanding around these issues.”

The grants will further enable collaboration and innovation across mountain communities in British Columbia, Washington, California, Utah, Colorado, Vermont and New Hampshire. In Colorado, the donations will support non-profits in Eagle County, Summit County and Gunnison County.

“We are extremely appreciative of the support from the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust,” said Mr. Santilli. “This is a true investment towards our community well-being that will make a tremendous impact.”

Pictured Above: Rob Santilli congratulates Joe Petersen on the success of the Peer Support Specialist program and contributing to the 24/7 expansion of the service