Denver health care officials warn of coming mental health crisis

Health

DENVER (KDVR) — As vaccine distribution begins across Colorado, health experts are optimistic the end to the pandemic may be just months away. But some are already gearing up for what will happen next. 

“I think the next pandemic is a mental health pandemic,” said Dr. Connie Price, chief medical officer and infectious disease specialist at Denver Health, during a press conference Thursday. 

Doctors are growing increasingly worried about the lasting impacts of the financial and emotional stress of COVID-19. 

“I think that that is accurate,” says Dr. Liz Chamberlain. “I think we won’t see the full effect of how this has impacted people for a few more months.”

Chamberlain is a psychologist at UCHealth, where demand for mental health resources is at an all-time high this holiday season. 

“I talk with a lot of people who are struggling with not having their same rituals,” she says. “Seeing their family, being able to travel, having dinner with loved ones, with their grandkids.”

She recommends creating new rituals, and talking with friends and loved ones on the phone instead of texting. 

She says difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite and loss of motivation can be signs you should talk to a professional. 

Mental Health Resources:

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression, the following resources are available:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn how to help someone in crisis, call the same number.

Colorado Crisis Services Hotline (1-844-493-8255): If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. When calling Colorado Crisis Services, you will be connected to a crisis counselor or trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree.

The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386): A 24/7 resource for LGBT youth struggling with a crisis or suicidal thoughts. The line is staffed by trained counselors.

Colorado Crisis Services Walk-In Locations: Walk-in crisis service centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need.

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: (1-844-264-5437): The best resource for readers to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

The number serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to all Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect concerns. All callers are able to speak with a call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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