Chris Lindley: husband, dad, veteran & public health advocate

Posted on July 30, 2019

Take Care of the People and the People Will Take Care of You

"Who is Chris Lindley?” you might ask. Chris is a prominent community member who I had the honor to sit down with, and get to know a little more.

The conversation started with that question, who is Chris Lindley? In his own words, Chris states, "I am a husband, a dad, a veteran, and a public health advocate. Family and friends come first." Chris continues and speaks about his passion for our communities overall health and expresses his gratitude on being a part of our community’s health and being able to make an impact. Chris moved to Colorado in 2001, and spent 16 years in Denver. Lindley had many roles in his time in the Front Range, and moved up working for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Chris learned a lot in his time in the big city, but says the most exciting part of his career has been his move from Denver to Eagle County in 2017. "I was immediately surrounded with the right people and a team that truly cared about the community." Lindley states and is quick to thank County Commissioners for their leadership at the county level.
Mental Health
As Chris begins his new role as executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health mental health is at the top of his priority list. "My role is to bring all leaders together, not taking over anything, but looking to enhance their missions. Amplify everything that they are doing." Lindley says as he continues to speak on his vision for everyone to spend as much time as possible focusing on their own mental health. Lindley goes on to talk about how our current system has some gaps to fill and work to accomplish, giving hope by saying, "One day everyone, and anyone, will have immediate access to services and support they need for their behavioral health. We're not there yet, but we will get there." Everyone to have quick access to services and support for behavioral health is Chris Lindley's big plan for mental health in Eagle County, so how can we all work together towards this big goal? Well, Chris has the answer to that. "First thing is every single one of us needs to make an effort every day to check in with all our team," and he goes on to say that team can be family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors. ”Take care of thy neighbor,” Lindley says while adding how we live in a small community and how we are all in a position to take care of one another. We must not be afraid to ask the hard questions when checking up on people; not being afraid to talk to someone about these issues; don't avoid the uncomfortable. We must push these conversations to happen, Chris adds.

Once we got deeper into the conversation I asked Chris what he believes are his biggest accomplishments in his time here in Eagle County. Chris goes down the list first speaking about passing the marijuana sales tax that jump started a lot of the efforts he planned for Eagle County, mental health being one of them. Working alongside many community partners to bring MIRA to life, which is a resource on wheels. MIRA is able to bring services and resources to lower income families and finally Chris talks about working together to bring Hope Center and helping them create a response model to crisis and adding school-based clinicians to the community. There are many accomplishments that Lindley has been a part of, and the accomplishments seem to keep growing.

Call to Action
When asked for his call to action Chris Lindley did not take long to respond, "Twenty years ago cancer was not talked about like it is today. While it is a bad disease there was a huge stigma around it, and Betty Ford helped get rid of that. Now there is no stigma. We seek help and help others when it comes to cancer, why don't we do that with mental health? The majority of people did not ask to have either diseases,” Lindley states. "If we don't address cancer, the disease will grow. That is how mental health works as well." Lindley makes a clear statement that people need to wake up and stop making mental health a scary topic. Chris finishes this conversation by sharing three things that he feels helps many people find serenity. One, movement. Chris talks about how exercise can be very beneficial to one's mental health it can be going to the gym or even going for a nice walk. Two, environment. Lindley expands on this idea by sharing how we are very fortunate to live in a place this beautiful, and how we have access to nature that is right in our backyards. Unplugging and taking some time to enjoy your surroundings are incredibly beneficial to one's overall health. Lastly, Chris talks about speaking up. Speaking to family and friends about these issues, and taking the first step towards healing.

As previously mentioned, Chris Lindley is a prominent community member with big dreams that benefit all of Eagle County, and everyone that calls this place home. If you, or anyone you know, is having thoughts of suicide of self harm please reach out and speak to someone. You are important. You are not alone.

United States Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

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