New event supports crisis counseling
On May 11 the Driggs fire station will be taken over by what Teri Hoyle would describe as “a four hour disco party on stationary bikes.”
Hoyle, the owner of Anytime Fitness and the Spin Cave, started brainstorming late last year with one of the Spin Cave instructors about doing a local spin-a-thon, and she immediately decided it would be an ideal fundraiser for the Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition, a nonprofit at which she serves as a board member.
Since 2010, the Mental Health Coalition has provided up to six free counseling sessions for anyone who is suicidal or in crisis without health insurance or with inadequate insurance.
“There is no paperwork, no hoops to jump through, you just call one of our counselors and set up a meeting,” explained Adam Williamson, the executive director of the MCH.
The MHC provided 225 counseling sessions in 2018, a significant increase over prior years, and Williamson said he expects that number to only go up.
“The county has done really well for mental health,” he said. “There are a lot of services here, it’s just a matter of getting people connected to them.”
He added that people will face situations that necessitate counseling even when they don’t expect to ever need it. In case of a suicide or other tragedy, the MHC also offers free grief counseling to affected families and friends.
Hoyle said that the MHC’s services are dear to her and she wants to build awareness of the ease and availability of subsidized counseling, which is part of the purpose of the spin-a-thon.
She said that community organizations and businesses have been extremely generous and supportive of the event. Teton County Fire & Rescue, which as a first responder organization is intimately familiar with the mental health needs of the community, stepped up to offer a big space for the spin-a-thon. Donations, prizes, and raffle items are pouring in, including sports equipment, restaurant certificates, and even a helicopter flight for two from Air Idaho.
Participating teams will be made up of between three and five people and each team gets one stationary bike. In order to join, teams must raise a minimum of $350. The party goes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 11. Costumes are strongly encouraged and the atmosphere will be festive, to say the least. Williamson promised there will be at least one tyrannosaurus rex present and pedaling.
“It’s for all fitness levels,” Hoyle emphasized. “Your team can break up the four hours anyway you wants.”
Williamson added that the MHC is always looking for committee members to make recommendations to the board regarding fundraising, education, outreach, and advocacy.
“You don’t need a mental health background to join a committee,” he said. “We actually want more people who aren’t counselors to get involved, people who work construction, seniors, high schoolers.”