Enriching lives and minds by focusing on strengths and well-being.
In 1989, Denver civic leaders consolidated four independent nonprofit mental health centers into a single system of care - WellPower, formerly the Mental Health Center of Denver. WellPower is committed to enriching lives and minds by focusing on strengths and well-being for those impacted by mental illness. It provides treatment services to adults, children, and families; the homeless; and those with co-occurring diagnoses; and provides support for reintegration into productive life in the community. We work throughout the City and County of Denver in our own clinics and other sites including day care centers, primary care clinics, nursing homes, residential facilities, homeless shelters, etc. We also have two statewide programs for those living with a mental illness who also live with HIV disease or who are deaf or hard of hearing.
When Frankie began her journey with WellPower, she was part of a three-year long incentivized study for people who applied for social security. The goal was to determine if behavioral health care could support individuals learning to live independently. At the time, Frankie was struggling with a substance use disorder She found it difficult to consistently stick with the treatment plans she and her care team created, often returning to substance use as a way to cope with hardships in her life. In her late forties, Frankie realized that she couldn't continue using drugs and alcohol if she wanted to find success. With renewed determination, she dedicated herself to working with the WellPower on her recovery.
Throughout her journey, one of Frankie's biggest lessons was learning to prioritize her own well-being. She knew she wanted to work and bring in income, so Frankie began working with an Employment Specialist at 2Succeed. Together, they determined that custodial work would be a good fit for her, initially. For two years, Frankie worked with the custodial team at WellPower's Dickenson building. She began setting personal goals for herself, such as earning her driver's license.
Frankie really began to flourish when she found the culinary program at 2Succeed, a psychiatric rehabilitation and supported education program that supports individuals in their recovery and promotes well-being at WellPower.
"Frankie gained the skills throughout her three years with WellPower to put boundaries in place, so she could focus on her work," said Candice Vigil, who runs the culinary program. "When she realized that she wanted to focus on the culinary program, she decided her well-being was important enough to prioritize herself. She quit the custodial job to focus on her culinary training and certifications, which was something she'd never done before. She had to ask herself, 'money or my well-being?' She chose herself."
Today, Frankie has an indomitable sense of self and desire to achieve long-held goals. In addition to living in recovery, she committed herself to getting her GED, finding stable housing, earning her driver's license and finding ways to cope with negative experiences in healthy ways.
So far, she's accomplished most of her list.
"At the beginning, I didn't really know who I was or what I wanted," said Frankie. "I was able to change myself from what I was, to who I am and to who I'm going to be as I keep growing. I never thought I could own a car or have a driver's license. I didn't think it was possible for me, and it is. It completely is."
"I went from surviving to thriving," she said. "I'm certified with ServSafe and I'm working at the 2Succeed culinary program. They're also helping me to get my GED. I have goals to own my own business and really foster my relationships with my kids and grandbabies."
Colorado residents who make a gift of $200 or more designated for our 2Succeed in Education & Employment program may qualify to receive the Enterprise Zone state tax credit equal to 25% of their contribution.