Former Leadership Fellow committed to early childhood mental health

As the month of May – Mental Health Awareness Month – draws to a close, Cynthia (Cindy) Divino, a licensed psychologist and alumni (2012-2013) of Leadership Fellows Boulder County, reminds us that mental health is a year-round concern that affects our community as a whole. 

“When InReach closed its doors in July 2016 due to lack of funding, we had a three-month waiting list of children requiring access to mental health services,” recalls Cindy, former InReach Executive Director. 
Currently, Cindy serves on the board of the Early Childhood Council of Boulder County. “I was always very involved in early childhood mental health, and there’s still a really long way to go in terms of not only mental health awareness, but also in terms of breaking down the stigma and barriers to receiving treatment,” she says. “As a community, we need to better understand that mental health for all community members is part of what it means to be diverse and inclusive as a community. We need to see all people as people.”
For Cindy, that means focusing first and foremost on early childhood mental health. “That’s my passion,” she says simply. “That preventive piece is extremely important to me. If we can prevent mental health issues from occurring in the first place, it’s a lot less costly and painful for people down the road.
“Healthy kids become healthy adults who are more successful in life – and that translates to an overall healthier community.” 

Cindy says the Leadership Fellows program – which is accepting applications through July 20 for the 2018-2019 fellowship year – enhanced her understanding of diversity, and further validated her work and contributions. 
“I’ve had diversity trainings in the past, but the foundation did it in a way that was more accessible, and interwoven throughout the program as a whole,” she says. 
“I really loved the program, and the chance to meet and talk with other fellows who are doing really important work in our community. And I really appreciated the support and encouragement the program provides to get more involved in our community by serving on a board, or in some government-type office or activity. 
“You don’t get kind of support from everywhere. So it was particularly encouraging to hear – through feedback from other fellows and our speakers – that you’re valued, that you’re a contributor, and that you can serve on a board, for example, without a great deal of money, or a great deal of expertise in something like law or finance.
“Leadership Fellows gave me a better sense of what’s possible in serving our community.”