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Hoops for Health: Elevations Credit Union and MHP logo


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Hoops for Health: CU Buffs Basketball Free Throws To Benefit MHP


DISCLAIMER: This article contains content and information about the topic of suicide, which may be distressing to some individuals. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or having thoughts of suicide, please call or text the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. You can also visit our 24/7 Walk-In Crisis Center, located at 3180 Airport Road, Boulder CO, for in-person support. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 911. 


Throughout the 2022-23 basketball season, Elevations Credit Union has pledged to donate $20 to Mental Health Partners (MHP) for each successful free throw made by a University of Colorado basketball player, both at home and on the road 

Aided by the aim and prowess of the CU Buffs men’s and women’s basketball players at the free-throw line, Elevations has set a goal of donating a total of $30,000 to Mental Health Partners. The proceeds raised from the Hoops for Health campaign will directly be used to fund FREE suicide prevention trainings and education to residents of Boulder and Broomfield counties, particularly in the Louisville, Superior, and Marshall neighborhoods where many residents continue to seek additional support. 

This generous donation comes at a critical time as our community reflects on the impact of the Marshall Fire and wind event one year later. 

“This time of year, many people experience the stress and strains that can lead to mental health issues and suicide ideation,” said Cindy Cohagen, MHP’s Director of Community Relations & Philanthropy. “Mental Health Partners is honored to partner with Elevations as, together, we seek to build healthy minds, healthy lives, healthy communities.”

A growing need for suicide prevention support among children, teens, and young adults 

Data from the Colorado Health Institute shows that an estimated 1,287 Coloradans lost their lives to suicide in 2019. What’s more, Colorado is in the midst of a devastating youth mental health crisis, with recent data showing a 103% uptick in mental health-related emergency room visits since 2019, according to Children’s Hospital Colorado. 

In addition, suicide rates among college athletes have risen sharply in recent years, with current and former college athletes and advocates speaking out in alarm about the “mental health crisis for college athletes,” according to The Washington Post. Experts blame factors such as the pandemic, social media, and rising pressures on young people – especially college athletes trying to balance athletics, academics, scholarships, sponsorships, and the demands of everyday life. This particularly poignant and disturbing trend highlights the importance of partnerships like Hoops for Health, as well as the need for improved suicide prevention education. 

Suicide prevention education can make a difference 

MHP provides several expert-led mental health trainings to individuals and groups, including:  

  • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR). Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. 
  • SafeTALK. SafeTALK is a half-day training program that teaches participants to recognize and engage persons who might be having thoughts of suicide and to connect them with community resources trained in suicide intervention. 
  • Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). Similar to how a person learns “first aid” to help those in a medical crisis, MHFA teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. 
  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). Participants learn to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. 

In 2021, MHP reached its goal of training 4,098 people in suicide prevention in its "Be 1 of 4098" campaign. The number 4,098 was established because it equals 6 people for every 1 person who died by suicide between 2006-2016 in Boulder and Broomfield counties. The hope of the campaign was to create a community of support around those who experience suicidal ideation, prevent future suicides by educating individuals on how to recognize when someone is reaching out for help, and how to effectively respond.

While accomplishing this goal was an important milestone, there is still more work to do 

“Thanks to ongoing support from community partners like Elevations and their Hoops for Health campaign, MHP is able to continue building upon our mission to ensure a suicide-safer community,” said Cindy.

About our partner, Elevations Credit Union 

It matters where you bank. 

That’s the motto of Elevations Credit Union, an award-winning Colorado financial institution committed to reinvesting profits back into neighbors, local businesses, and nonprofit organizations. 

In 1952, Elevations (then known as the U. of C. Federal Credit Union) was founded to serve the financial needs of CU Boulder staff and faculty. While the bank’s name has changed and membership has grown in the last 70 years, its core mission “to foster growth in our community” remains a driving force of the organization. 

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Elevations Foundation has contributed nearly $4 million to support community programs over the past 12 years, in addition to supporting community grants for local nonprofit organizations. 

Mental Health Partners thanks Elevations Credit Union for their generous contribution and ongoing partnership to serve our community. 

How to participate in Hoops for Health 

In addition to cheering on the CU Buffs basketball teams in-person or at home, you can make a special donation to Elevations’ Hoops for Health campaign and support community mental health in Boulder and Broomfield counties. To make your own contribution, visit Hoops for Health.  

We also invite you to follow along on Instagram and Twitter as we share weekly updates from Elevations.