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A Way Forward offers mental and emotional health classes

A Way Forward is offering the Hazelden Mental and Emotional Health Series for free.
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A Way Forward located at 600 Terry Street in Longmont.

Debbie Platts, a certified recovery coach and executive director of A Way Forward, believes there is an accessibility problem in the mental health industry, which she hopes to fix. 

“We don’t make people fill out any insurance forms, we don’t take insurance because for a lot of people that is a gap. People that are experiencing homeless in the shelters that don’t even know if they got insurance, don’t know where the paperwork is, so there are zero barriers, number one,” Platts said. 

A Way Forward offers a plethora of classes and events to help foster better mental health and help people with substance abuse problems. Some programs include the Hazelden Mental and Emotional Health Series, family support groups, structured recovering groups, AA and yoga.  

A Way Forward adopted the Hazelden Mental and Emotional Health Series, which consists of six classes that touch on the topics of grief, shame and guilt, self-esteem and self compassion, anxiety, depression and anger. Each class lasts six weeks and are free, the only charge is $10 to purchase the workbook for the classes. 

Platts found Danielle Holmes, who is the founder and CEO of Abracadabra consulting, and asked her to teach the mental health classes due to her experience teaching criminal justice at Front Range Community College. 

Hazelden created this mental and emotional health series at the beginning of this year. A Way Forward adopted the program in May after receiving a donation from the Rotary Club of Longmont Charity Fund. The program was really open ended and allowed Holmes to structure it as she saw fit. 

“When receiving the material it was kind of open to us on how to interpret the length ... I found that six weeks was perfect because its not that long of commitment, it is just long enough,” Holmes said. 

Last week Holmes wrapped up teaching their second class in the series on self-esteem and self compassion.

Joan Foster, a certified recovery coach at A Way Forward, participated in the first two modules of the mental and emotional health series. She enjoyed those two so much she plans to participate in the third module on depression. 

“It was very gut wrenching, impactful. It was something I can foresee using those tools that I received from that,” Foster said. 

A Way Forward plans to run the Hazelden Mental and Emotional Health Series twice a year and hopes they can help community members recover from substance abuse and or help them with their mental health needs. 

“We’re all about community. We are a community recovery center by the community and for the community,” Platts said.