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Holistic Healing Crisis Support Team

Over three million people live in the seven county region known as metro-Denver, including me.  Three MILLION.  As a native of a relatively small community in the central valley of California, I grew up believing a large metropolis like Denver equated to anonymity and loss of a sense of community.  While the former is mostly true, nothing could be further from the truth with the latter… especially after a mass shooting.

And we’ve had a few mass shootings in our community giving us experience no one ever wanted.

Over time, we began to realize our connectedness to each other.  Here are a few of mine…

    • The parents who became my friends long after Columbine and they didn’t have to tell me about their family story, I already knew it.  This was the first event that struck me to my core.  
    • Then there was the Aurora Theatre massacre where the youngest victim attended my children’s elementary school and another victim was an usher at my church.  
    • This was followed by a shooting at Arapahoe High School… and I knew kids there. 
    • Not long ago was the STEM school shooting; my daughter attended high school nearby and I served on the Accountability committee. 

And now a grocery store in a community where I know many… some who are providers in our network.  As the days unfold, I dread finding the connections that inevitably will show themselves.

I’m not unique in having connections to these tragedies, almost everyone I know has a story… a connection.

Our community is intertwined; what affects and impacts one affects us all in different ways.  Many will seek mental health support, others will bury their grief deep within their bodies.  

After a workplace crisis, the experts say to bring in the counselors.  Employee Assistance Programs, designed for reactionary crisis management, will be engaged with mental health services available for impacted employees or students.  I don’t disagree with this advice, but I have learned something over the years… it’s not enough.

Several years ago we had the vision to create a Holistic Healing Crisis Support team comprised of providers in the You Define Wellness network representing many different modalities including fitness, nutrition, chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, energy healing, biofeedback, and – yes – mental health professionals.  Our providers are passionate about serving others and when we announced an exploratory meeting, many gathered to share their ideas.  

The meeting about our vision was announced in a social media post.  Four days after our meeting, I received a phone call from a friend who remembered the post.

“I know you’re not ready yet, but I need you”, said my friend. 

Over the weekend, a young boy in her daughter’s elementary school had committed suicide.  She asked if we would be willing to pull together a team of network providers to offer services to the school staff in four days time.

We sent a quick email to our providers and within a half-hour, 28 raised their hands in an emphatic YES!

That Friday, the eight we selected set up healing stations in a small alcove in the school.  We offered chair massage, Reiki, Access Bars, auricular ear therapy, and biofeedback.  The staff at first all wanted the chair massage as it was the only thing they recognized, but allowed us to guide them to other healers.  They discovered other ways to heal their body from the grief they were carrying… and they were thankful.

This story illustrates the power of You Define Wellness…

  • We are a COMMUNITY of health & wellness professionals committed to healing the greater community;
  • We understand there are many paths to wellness / healing and are committed to helping individuals discover the path that is right for them; and, 
  • When asked, we can engage quickly.

If your team is dealing with crisis whether at your workplace, in the community, or across the country, we urge you to get help… and not limit it to one modality.  People process grief in many ways and grief is not one-size-fits-all.  If you need immediate help, call or text me at 303-257-1916… I founded You Define Wellness and I will find you the resources you need to take care of your team.

Denise O’Malley, Founder of You Define Wellness