They are Us: Examining Mental Health in Grand County
Sky High News
Mental health issues are not a problem that can easily be solved, but they can be brought to light. People’s stories can be told and barriers to care can be exposed. That’s the goal of our four-part in-depth mental health series, They are Us.
We understand that this series won’t remedy all the problems here in Grand County. Instead our mission is to start a public discourse about mental illness, to highlight the things needing change, to share the often intimate, uncomfortable stories of your friends, neighbors and co-workers who are trying to work through an invisible, internal crisis. We want to give mental illness a visible face.
We’re here to say that struggling with mental illness isn’t something that should be hidden or shrugged off. It’s only when people realize this that they can begin to deal with the problem and, hopefully, encourage others to do the same.
PART ONE: A STRUGGLE WITHIN
What does mental health look like in our communities? Our first installment, A Struggle Within, gives a face to the mental health struggle in Grand County. We explore what mental health issues look like, how prevalent the issues are within the community and uncover the broad stigma surrounding access to mental health care.
PART TWO: EXODUS
Why do these problems exist? In our second installment, Exodus, we examine the infrastructural deficiencies that have come to define mental health care in Grand County and the effects that has on those struggling with mental illness in the community.
PART THREE: WEIGHING ON THE SYSTEM
Law enforcement has quickly become the unintentional first responders when a mental health crisis arises in Grand County, even if the person hasn’t committed a crime. In our third installment, Weighing on the System, we take a close look at mental health and potential barriers to care from the perspective of local law enforcement, the judicial system and health care professionals.
PART FOUR: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Grand County has the highest suicide rate of any resort community in the state of Colorado, and above the national average. In the fourth and final installment, Out of the Shadows, we examine the topic of suicide through stories from friends and family members of those who have taken their own lives and highlight the link between mental health and suicide. As we conclude our series, we explore the current and future avenues being taking to address the issues we’ve raised about local mental health.