Thank you patients for helping us win the Best of Mile High award for Mental Wellness!

Meet Spravato Technician AJ Hutchinson

Meet AJ, a dedicated Spravato Technician whose journey began in Greeley, Colorado. With a passion for science instilled from a young age, AJ pursued his academic endeavors at Juniata College, where he earned his degree in Biology. Drawing from his upbringing in Greeley and his educational background, AJ brings a unique perspective and a wealth of knowledge to his role as a Spravato Technician. His commitment to helping others combined with his expertise make him an invaluable asset to the team, providing compassionate care and support to those seeking relief

 

Pictured is AJ Hutchinson a Spravato Technician at Axis Integrated Mental Health

Tell us about your background and what got you started in mental health.

I grew up in Greeley, CO and lived there for 17 years. I attended Juniata College and graduated in 2018 with a degree in biology. During my undergraduate I also obtained my EMT and have practiced in emergency settings. More specifically, I worked nights at an in-patient behavioral health hospital in 2020 and it’s there where I found my passion for mental healthcare.  

 

How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy my free time by exercising, hiking, biking, skiing and ice-skating. Really anything where I can get outside and get some movement! I also love to cook and watch my favorite shows (Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The Grand tour) 

 

What's something you've struggled with in the past that you've overcome? How did you overcome it? Who helped you and how does that experience inform your practice?

In the recent past, I have struggled with depression and anxiety. It felt impossible to conquer this alone, so I sought help from my PCP, therapist, significant other and family. While medication and family support helped, therapy helped me re-frame my thoughts and cope with life’s stressors in a healthy and effective way.  

 

What areas do you think are under researched in mental health?

I think there are still several areas of Mental Healthcare that need to be researched more thoroughly. First, Mental Healthcare disparities within minority and low-income communities are one of the most neglected areas and can greatly influence which people can seek, obtain, regularly utilize mental healthcare services. Crisis care and response to mental health crisis is another area that could be greatly improved. Finally, the genomics around mental health care treatments are another area where modern healthcare has fallen short. Can we get to a point where we can identify and treat mental health issues before they become chronic issues?  

 

What's your guilty pleasure?

I am a HUGE fan of sweets and candy. This bad habit has caught up with me over the years…..  

 

What's something you were skeptical about but surprised you because it's so effective?

Spravato! I had heard about this treatment over the past few years but was skeptical about the use of such a powerful drug to treat depression. Now I understand the science and have seen some of the results that patients experience, I am sold on the benefits of this treatment.  

 

If there was one thing that you could get more patients to do to take care of their mental health, what would it be?

Get off the smartphone and go enjoy the beauty of Colorado! During my struggle with depression, I was able to see how my phone use made my depressive symptoms worse over time. I set time limits on apps and made time to go hiking, lift weights, do a yoga class, or trail run when I could! It made a huge difference 

 

Do you define success differently today than you did when you were younger? How?

I certainly do! I believe that success is something that you define for yourself rather than what others or society defines for you. For me, success isn’t about money or materialistic things but instead it’s about learning and growing as an individual and using the skills and expertise you have gained through life to influence positive change to improve communities/society. Basically, I define success as the ability to use your gifts to improve the lives of others and society.  

 

Do you have any tips for managing your mental health?

Exercise regularly and be kind to yourself! We are all biologically programmed to focus on the negative over the positive and we forget to take time to appreciate the positive things we do for ourselves and others.  

 

Do you have any hobbies, projects or side hustles that you're passionate about?

I am always reading the latest in science, space, and engineering. I like to think of myself as an informed personI also pet-sit and uber drive as side hustles! My fiancé and I have a collection of 70 indoor plants, of which 58 are unique species!  

 

What's the phone app you use the most?

YouTube 

 

What's a book you think everyone should read?

Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand 

Great story about resilience and determination!  

 

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