May is Mental Health Month: Early intervention is critical

DENVER -- May is Mental Health Month, according to a declaration from the governor's office.

The proclamation highlights the importance of early intervention and treatment, saying “it starts with kids.”

One of the young speakers at the event was 19-year-old Jordan Yates, who is a student at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

She speaks openly about her battle with depression and hopes to encourage other people to get help.

When Jordan was 13 years old she started noticing her symptoms. “I was really lethargic. I started distancing myself from my friends and family. I just slept all the time. I was irritable, my grades dropped,” she said.

That’s when she went to her mother for help.  “She took me to the doc the next day, and I started with therapy and medication, and that was about six years ago,” Jordan said.

She is doing a lot better now and blogs about her experience, including the ups and downs.

Plus, she talks openly about the times when she was suicidal. “I went through a lot of periods where I was like why bother? If this is what life is, then I don't want to do this. And it was amazing to learn that life doesn`t have to be like that that. Once you seek help, there's so many ways that life can be awesome,” she said.

Patty Boyd, with Tri-County Health Department wants all Coloradans to be able to talk openly like Jordan, and to speak about mental health the same way they speak about physical health. “It’s pretty easy to say, 'oh I have a stomach ache, or my arm hurts,' but we typically don`t express that when it comes to mental health,” she said.

Letstalkco.org has resources that can help start the conversation.

Research shows that half of mental health issues occur before a person turns 14.  Early intervention is key and can change the course of a young person’s life.

For Jordan, there are still good days and bad. “Now at least I know its going to get better,” she said.

If you are in crisis – call the Colorado Crisis and Support Hotline at 844-493-TALK (8255)

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