People know Colorado as one of the most physically fit states. The residents of this state lead healthy and athletic lives, and they enjoy all kinds of sports. In fact, Colorado residents are so healthy that they have the second lowest rate of cardiovascular disease.
Suicide Rates Are Not Dropping
However, psychologists claim that Colorado is going through what they call “paradise paradox.” Translated into the common tongue, this means that Colorado is at its peak of physical health, but the residents are going through a mental crisis.
Nearly 400,000 Coloradans are in urgent need of mental health treatments but can’t get them. Moreover, the suicide rate in Colorado has been continually climbing since the year 2004. Between 2004 and 2017, Colorado suffered 12,998 suicides — a number most didn’t even dream they would see.
Does this show that the government has been so focused on the physical health of Coloradans that they began neglecting mental health? Additionally, the suicide rates amongst teenagers between 10 and 19 have skyrocketed from 2007 to 2016. This percentage rose to 56%, and it used to be significantly lower.
Luckily, the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, is very much aware of the issue his state is facing currently. He stated that the state has already made it a priority to help all of those with mental health needs. They are recruiting people for Polis’ behavioral health task force and will sign the HB19-1120 and SB 19-195 bills.
These bills will be passed in order to fight against suicide among young Coloradans and improve the mental health system. Governor Polis has set a personal goal to provide help to all the families negatively affected by the poor state of psychiatric care.
All the Counties Are Affected
The problem with mental health issues is that it isn’t local at all — moreover, nearly all the counties share this issue. For example, in Eagle County, the suicide rate average is higher than anywhere in the state. Considering the average is already horrific, the fact that it’s even higher in Eagle County is defeating.
The situation there is so critical that at least one person per day tries to commit suicide. And only last year, Eagle County lost 17 people to suicide — what many see as a defeating result for the community. Additionally, 2018 marked the year with the highest suicide rate in the history of this county. Another testimony to the critical mental health of Coloradans is the jumping rate of visits to Vail Health’s clinic. This clinic deals with anxiety and depression, and the number of people who visit jumped from 63 to 290 in the last couple of years.
The sad reality is that all layers of society in Colorado are having to deal with this issue. Lawyers, teachers, parents, doctors, and many others are facing a mental health system that didn’t operate properly until now.
Vail Area also faces a lot of difficulties when it comes to mental health treatment. This county has nearly half specialists and institutions less than in other parts of the country. If you take all this into consideration, it is easy to realize why so many Vail Area patients need to travel for the treatment. They are usually transferred to Denver or Grand Junction. In most cases, this can be devastating for critical patients because both of the locations are 2 hours away.
Some of the more vulnerable communities such as Latinos, women, and members of young LGBTQ+ are endangered by such inadequate mental health care. To prevent any misfortune from happening, the state of Colorado has gathered stakeholders and community leaders to develop a strategy.
The work doesn’t end there though — Coloradans care deeply about their physical health, but there’s a stigma surrounding mental health. For people to freely seek support and guidance from therapists, Coloradans will need to change their stance on mental health diseases.
Forming of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health
The state made a decision to face the problem though, and so they asked Vail Health to stand behind the organization and address the issue the society is facing.
Vail Health’s board of directors came to a unanimous decision to invest $60 million into the cause stretching for over 10 years. When it comes to mental health rankings, Colorado ranks 43rd in The States. However, the officials don’t want to stop there — they refuse to be average. In fact, they wish to be one of the healthiest when it comes to both physical and mental health. The goal is to join the group of states which fight against mental health diseases the best.
The officials are asking all Coloradans to join them in this fight and bring their best to the table. The aim is to make sure that Coloradans appreciate their mental health just as much as physical. This will bring about a happy and healthy community, if not one of the healthiest in the USA. Hopefully, in 10 years from now, paradise paradox will not be an issue for Colorado.