DENVER (KDVR) — Heath Burgess now works on a ranch in Lyons and is proud that he turned his life around after decades of opioid abuse.

“I’ve been opioid and drug-free since 2020,” Burgess said.

He said before that, he used drugs to self-medicate. 

“It was an easy way out for me, instead of dealing with the hard stuff, which is facing reality and accountability,” he said.

Burgess got medication-assisted treatment at Front Range Clinic and said mental health therapy helped him stick with it.

“The biggest thing that helped me was learning techniques like breathing techniques, things like that and meditation, being able to be out in nature to really reset and calm your mind,” he said.

Staff at Front Range Clinic highly recommend mental health therapy as part of their drug treatment plans. There are group meetings and patients are provided with other resources.

“I think therapy is a key part of the treatment process,” said Michelle Gomez, a physician assistant at the clinic. “I think the outcomes are better in the population that does focus on their mental health overall and start counseling. Like I said, it’s very important to develop coping mechanisms for certain triggers that they have.”

On World Mental Health Day, she wants people to know there is hope and there are resources.

If you’re in need of help, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). You can also find treatment near you by texting your zip code to 435748 (HELP4U).