A Heartfelt Farewell to Ruth Arnold, CEO

With a heavy heart Colorado Recovery announces that Ruth Arnold, CEO will be retiring this month. She has served as CEO for Colorado Recovery for four years and she will be missed. She has been a compassionate leader and brought a vast amount of knowledge about mental health to our organization. 

While at Colorado Recovery she helped support and develop the Bridge to You program, she helped create a marketing position, oversaw the transition of our website platform, spearheaded Colorado Recovery’s membership with the American Residential Treatment Association, supported the expansion of wilderness therapy programming, and much more! 

Ruth began her career at Mental Health Partners(MHP) in 1974 and she left MHP in 2016 to join Colorado Recovery. During her years of service, she worked closely with Colorado Recovery’s founder, Dr. Richard Warner and she was able to maintain his vision while serving as CEO at Colorado Recovery.

She held many positions during her career at MHP; she was the Team Leader for the vocational rehabilitation program, a Therapist at MHP’s intensive residential program, and a Team Leader for the assertive community treatment team. She was well-liked and respected in all of her roles. 

She can take credit for many accomplishments that have had a great impact on the mental health community. She started WATBusiness Services,  a thriving workplace that employed many people with serious mental illness for many years. She was instrumental in starting MHP’s very successful Chinook Clubhouse which helped people with major mental illness find a sense of belonging to a social community, develop job skills, secure supported employment, and succeed in independent employment. 

Ruth is a founding Board Member for The Center for People with Disabilities where she is still an active Board Member and she will continue to serve on the board during her retirement. 

The entire community of staff, clients, and families at Colorado Recovery wishes Ruth a heartfelt farewell. We feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Ruth. She has shown us how to create and leave a lasting legacy.

June Bianchi, Transitional Housing Program Manager says, “The Colorado Recovery community is very grateful for the effort that Ruth put forth to make our agency thrive. We have been very grateful for her determination, passion, and unrelenting optimism for those struggling with mental health and the unrelenting support of the staff that serves this community. The experience that Ruth held regarding mental health, budgets, and developing programs will strengthen Colorado Recovery for years to come. We will always be grateful for her and the immense change and improvements she made. Ruth has a quiet strength, intelligence, wisdom, flexibility, openness, and a great sense of humor. She made so many difficult, important, and lasting decisions for our community. For this, she will always be remembered and we will always be grateful for her guidance and leadership.”

Caring for a Loved One with Bipolar: What Helps & What Hurts

This week Colorado Recovery Psychiatric Services would like to highlight this article featured in Bipolar Hope: Hope and Harmony for People with Bipolar Disorder. Many times we see families suffering along with the person who is having a mental health challenge because it is hard to know what to do.


By Stephen Propst, Bipolar Hope, http://bphope.com

When you love someone who is struggling with bipolar disorder, you might feel unsure about how best to support them. But here’s some advice on how to help.

Do you have a family member or friend who lives with bipolar? Do you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle? Who can blame you? It’s a difficult diagnosis that can be confusing and challenging.

Don’t give up! There is a method to confront what can seem like madness. You can learn to offer constructive support without sacrificing your sanity. It’s all in knowing what helps and what hurts.

First and foremost, remember that bipolar is a genuine medical condition that manifests itself with a host of ever-changing behavioral and psychological symptoms—from withdrawal to recklessness, lethargy to excessive energy, indecision to impulsiveness.

Understanding and responding to bipolar is no easy task, but acknowledging the biological and complex nature of the condition is an essential first step.

To help someone who has bipolar, it’s imperative that you:

  • Stop blaming yourself OR your loved one for the diagnosis.
  • Take care of yourself first so you’re better equipped to help your family member or friend.
  • Realize there’s only so much you can manage physically, mentally, financially, and otherwise.
  • Acknowledge that ultimately your loved one must champion his or her own recovery.
  • Intervene in a true crisis, which is defined as someone being a threat to oneself or to others.

I’m fortunate that my family has always been there for me, even during the most difficult times. To their credit, they established necessary boundaries and refrained from letting my diagnosis consume them. They took a stand on what they could and could not handle, realized that ultimately I was the one who had to take charge of solving my problems, and recognized that my recovery could take considerable time.

Let me emphasize: When it comes to helping someone who is combating bipolar, it’s critical for families to realize that there is a limit to what they can do. You can be there for someone without putting yourself in jeopardy. Although it takes patience and persistence, achieving a healthy balance is worth the effort.

Now, there’s another critical component to consider: Much of what you may witness—from erratic behavior to poor decision making to (at times) complete chaos—is symptomatic of bipolar. It’s what they’re doing, not who they are. If you reduce someone you care about to a diagnosis, you hurt not only his or her chances of realizing recovery but also your own prospects for peace of mind. Be sure to separate the symptoms from the human being who is struggling beneath the chaos.

Also, remember to acknowledge any effort your loved one makes to deal with his or her situation. I once endured nine months of debilitating depression. Even getting out of bed was a big deal. Fortunately, my family recognized the seriousness of my struggle; they didn’t dismiss such an accomplishment as being trivial. This helped me more than you can imagine. Don’t hurt the one you love by failing to acknowledge all attempts to move forward. Small steps count, too!

Additionally, when you find your loved one in a fairly stable state of mind, sit down and establish a basic plan of action. At a minimum, decide on mutually acceptable expectations and reasonable boundaries, including agreed-upon consequences. Decide how a crisis will be handled. Being proactive helps; reacting haphazardly hurts.

If you find yourself second-guessing these ideas, that’s okay; these concepts can seem counterintuitive. Attending support groups can be very beneficial—getting constructive feedback and objective insight from others who’ve been there can help you embrace and appreciate the importance of these principles.

People often ask what they can say to someone who’s struggling. My answer? Three things:

  • “I love you.”
  • “I care.”
  • “I’ll be there for you if and when you need me.”

I hope this helps!

Stephen Propst, a former chair of DBSA, is a public speaker and a coach/consultant focusing on living successfully with conditions like bipolar. He can be reached at info@atlantamoodsupport.com.

Why do we say Recovery in Mental Health?

Why do we say Recovery in mental health? Why aren’t we Colorado Cured or Colorado Recovered? 


For some people, the word recovery can be confusing. Many times people associate the word only with substance use treatment. But, the word has also been important for recovery from mental health disorders. 


September was National Recovery Month and SAMSHA says, “National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery.”


It is important to tell stories of recovery and reshape beliefs around how we see mental health disorders. Mental Health Colorado has covered many personal stories that are hope-inspiring and uplifting. For great recovery stories visit: https://www.mentalhealthcolorado.org/


There are often different takes on the word depending on the context and population. Professionals use the word clinically, advocates use the word as part of a grassroots movement, and people who struggle with substance use disorders use the term to describe a state of being in sobriety. 


In the 1930’s Alcoholics Anonymous began using the term to describe sobriety among a fellowship of participants. Recovery is now an integral part of how a person describes and connects with living a good life without substances and the concept is closely related to how recovery is viewed in mental health. 


In the late 1980s and ’90s, the recovery movement in mental health began. It was led by mental health consumers/clients/ex-patients who wanted to see a change in the perception of what successful mental health treatment means. Without this client-led movement, treatment may have looked much different than it does today. 


Before the movement, patients with serious mental health disorders and their families were oftentimes given a poor prognosis. There is a dark history in the US and other parts of the western world of patients being treated poorly, institutionalized, and stigmatized. There was no focus on improving the quality of life nor any hope for recovery from their illness.


 The mental health recovery movement really expanded the perception of what people who live with serious disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are capable of. 


The CEO of Colorado Recovery, Ruth Arnold, worked on a Recovery Philosophy roll-out in the early 2000s while working at Mental Health Partners in Boulder, Colorado. The Boulder community still refers to this manifesto when they are thinking about how to help people. 


Here is what was developed in partnership with clinicians, clients, family members, and community: 


Recovery in mental health can be described as the intentional constant pursuit of living life to its fullest.  It is a process that is unique to each individual and grows out of a culture of support and the gradual awareness of one’s own personally meaningful roles and goals.  It is the awakening and realization of dreams through the process of healing and the exercising of personal power to secure a full and satisfying life.  We believe that recovery is not only possible, it is probable, because of the strength of the human spirit and the amazing resiliencies within every person.


Ruth personally believes that “recovery is the pursuit of a meaningful life beyond one’s mental health diagnosis and learning to manage the mental health symptoms sufficiently to allow one to get on with living. To stop seeing one’s role in life as ”a person with a mental illness or mental health condition”, but instead to see the possibility of a role beyond that and in spite of that, and developing sufficient perseverance to pursue it.”


It is important to think of recovery as an active state or process, a doing rather than a one-time event. Stay in the moment, know that wherever someone may be in that journey, it is cumulative knowledge that is gained from setbacks and struggles. At Colorado Recovery we are blessed to witness and be a part of the journey. People who live with mental health challenges are some of the most empathetic and resilient people around and they have many gifts to bring to the world.