Posted inOpinion, Opinion Columns

Opinion: Help is available to teens in crisis — if they know who to call

Youth are grieving. With the death of relatives, friends — and above all, expectations — teens are feeling the loss brought by the pandemic. Without appropriate support systems, our youth are perpetually remaining in crisis. I have experienced first-hand the strain on our community’s mental health. Ranging from addiction to suicide attempts to eating disorders, […]

Posted inColoradans, Health, News, Politics and Government

Youth mental health was front and center in Colorado’s legislative session. But the work is only a “down payment.”

Hospital emergency departments are flooded with children who’ve just attempted suicide. Kids in need of residential treatment for severe depression are sent out of state because Colorado’s beds are full. And suicide became the leading cause of death for youth in this state five years ago. So what are Colorado policymakers doing about it?  The […]

Posted inColoradans, Education, Health, News

On Edge: After wanting to die, an Aurora teen is now learning to live

Navee Essien has grown up keenly aware of her gifts. More times than she can count, people have reminded the senior at Aurora’s Rangeview High how fortunate she is to have a close family and strong support system, academic and athletic talent, ease making friends, and the kind of smarts, beauty and confidence that make […]

Posted inColoradans, COVID, Health, Politics and Government

On Edge: In the wake of furloughs, closings, suicides, a Breckenridge businessman searches for balance

Dick Carleton came to Breckenridge from Virginia when he was 24. He had a business degree from Virginia Tech, a ‘69 Volkwagen bug, $100 and three friends willing to share a crappy two-bedroom condo with no insulation. It was awful. It was glorious. He was “full of rebel spirit” in a town of kindreds and […]

Posted inColoradans, COVID, Health, News

Youth suicides on the Eastern Plains spark political protest, “7 is too many” social media campaign

The latest deaths dropped on the tight-knit communities of the Eastern Plains like a heavy fog.  Last month it was a senior at tiny Merino High, a girl who signed up for school plays and organized blood drives but was happiest in the rodeo arena.  Then, just a few weeks later, in December, students in […]

Posted inColoradans, Health, News, Politics and Government

Colorado’s splintered mental health system has had tragic failures. The state is taking the first step to fix it.

When Vickie Zacher found out her 11-year-old daughter was getting notes from kids at school suggesting that she kill herself, the Eagle County mom took her to a mental health counselor.  A program through Zacher’s job paid for three, one-hour sessions. But the price for more sessions was $270 per hour, and Zacher couldn’t afford […]

Posted inOpinion, Opinion Columns

Opinion: How hard it can be for Colorado families to get the mental health treatment they need

Tears always flow at some point. It’s inevitable.   We are sitting with a father whose coffee grows cold and whose exhaustion is shared by his wife, who is wary of telling her story as she fully expects to be told, yet again, “We can’t help you now.” She carries this rejection from meeting to meeting while […]