Program director Lindsey Lupow and development coordinator April Davey spread the word about HeadQuarters, formerly called Aspen Strong, at the Pride Event in Aspen.
HQ Images/Courtesy photo
HeadQuarters, formerly Aspen Strong, is rebranding with a focus on mental fitness, which HeadQuarters Executive Director Angilina Taylor defines as “having the skills and tools available to you, so that you have the resiliency to thrive when things get thrown at you in life.”
“Throughout life, we all face obstacles, and we all find ourselves in different positions,” she said. “Sometimes, if we don’t have the proper tools at our disposal, a situation can become a lot worse if we’re not properly prepared. … It’s really figuring out what those tools are that work for you and adapting them for your life and having that skill set, you know, recognizing things that trigger you, and then things that you can do … so that you don’t find yourself in a situation like that again.”
Despite the new name, she said the programming offered by HeadQuarters will remain the same. The name change came as a result of gradual shifts in the focus of the organization.
The organization started as an exclusively online resource with a provider directory and online toolkits. However, in recent years, it has expanded into the offline realm to offer community events and workshops.
Last year, it took over managing the Mental Health Fund, which was initially run by the Aspen Community Foundation.
“We were growing anyway, and evolving into what we are now,” Taylor said.
Next year, HeadQuarters is planning to launch a mental fitness coach program, according to her.
She said the name change is also aimed to clarify that the organization serves a broader area than just Aspen — they work with people all over the region between Aspen and Parachute.
HeadQuarters Executive Director Angilina Taylor signs the lease for the organization’s new office space in Basalt. HeadQuarters/Courtesy Image
“We really wanted to be inclusive of all of the communities we serve,” she said. “Sometimes it was just like a bit of a disconnect; people didn’t really recognize that we provided a service for them, with having Aspen in the name, when we went downvalley. And we have larger, grander visions of like, how could this evolve into something that isn’t area specific? And how could we create this model for different communities in different areas?”
HeadQuarters’ new name is a reference to the four quarters of the brain, as well as their work with the four pillars of mental fitness, which are the social, emotional, physical, and financial aspects.
In practice, that involves promoting social responsibility through volunteerism, partnerships, and the provider directory; hosting workshops and presentations focused on emotional resilience; encouraging people to engage in physical activity to boost their mental wellbeing; and promoting financial literacy.
By addressing those key areas, Taylor said she hopes to prevent people from reaching crisis, reducing the strain on other mental-health organizations.
“We really believe that with prevention and early intervention programming within the valley, we will be removing some of the strain on the downstream systems of care,” she said.
As part of the rebranding process, HeadQuarters has considered who their target audience is.
Through relationships with local schools, therapists, and parents, they identified a focus on the youth community.
“We as a staff and board, really wanted to focus (on ages) 14 plus … knowing that there is a youth mental health crisis and knowing that the youth in our area are struggling,” Taylor said.
The Latino community, too, struggles significantly with mental health, according to her — many of the Mental Health Fund applications come from Latino community members. To remove barriers to supporting this population, HeadQuarters has made its new website fully translatable into Spanish. As HeadQuarters continues to expand, she said they are trying to figure out how to implement more programming in Spanish and partner with more organizations within the Latino community.
In addition to the youth and Latino communities, she said the working class population is another group that HeadQuarters has focused their resources on, since they often have minimal employer benefits that cover mental-health needs.
One of the ways HeadQuarters can support specific groups is by developing workshops specifically intended to cater toward those demographics. The workshops are usually done with other local organizations.
“All of our workshops are in collaboration with others and really folding others into other organizations into our programming,” Taylor said.
In the spirit of collaboration, HeadQuarters’ new office space in Basalt will also house the Mental Fitness Collaborative, which is a co-working space for people in the wellness industry.
They will be celebrating the changes with a community open house from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Thursday at their new space, located at 23400 Two Rivers Road, Unit No. 46 in Basalt.