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Larimer County continues to experience unprecedented growth in mental health crises. Suicide has doubled in Larimer County since 2009, and we continue to have among the highest suicide rates in the nation. In 2016, eighty-three (83) people took their own lives in Larimer County. Sadly, the current mental health system in Larimer County, while it does provide some high quality treatment and services, does not meet the demand of people in need.

The challenge is larger than any single municipality. In fact, mental health issues affect one in five Larimer County residents. From Estes Park to Berthoud, Wellington to Loveland, Fort Collins to and everywhere in between, our children, families, friends and communities are desperate for solutions.

Larimer County residents deserve access to basic mental health care services. In November, we will have the opportunity to begin to turn statistics in our favor and set an example for how a community can partner with government and public and private businesses to create solutions for our residents.

Mental illness knows no prejudice. It can strike anyone and cares not about age, economic status, or ethnicity. Unique mental health and substance abuse issues are faced by different groups of people, and the ramifications for families and communities are significant.

This video was recently produced by Larimer County’s Mental Health Matters in an effort to spread public awareness about the widespread and deep effects mental illness has on our community.

 

Youth


Adolescence is a critical period for mental, social, and emotional wellbeing and development. During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant developmental changes, establishing neural pathways and behavior patterns that will last into adulthood.

Because their brains are still developing, adolescents are particularly receptive to the positive influences of youth development strategies, social and emotional learning, and behavioral modeling. 

But adolescents’ developing brains, coupled with hormonal changes, make them more prone to depression and more likely to engage in risky and thrill-seeking behaviors than either younger children or adults. These and other factors underline the importance of meeting the mental, social, and emotional health needs of this age group.

Mental health and social and emotional wellbeing – combined with sexual and reproductive health, violence and unintentional injury, substance use, and nutrition and obesity – form part of a complex web of potential challenges to adolescents’ healthy emotional and physical development. 

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Aging Adults

Depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues are not a normal part of aging. Left untreated, they can lead to fatigue, illness, and even suicide.

In fact, one in four older adults experiences some mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. This number is expected to double to 15 million by 2030.

Despite what the statistics reveal, it can be difficult to pick up on mental health issues among seniors because of the unique age-related health and life challenges they face. Sometimes symptoms can be very subtle or attributable to a variety of other health conditions or life changes.

Additionally, older adults are less likely to notify a health care provider of symptoms related to mental health problems than for physical symptoms they are experiencing. This can be due to the stigma attached to mental health problems, or because the individual may not be able to explain what he or she is experiencing.

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Veterans


About 4 million people have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the longest sustained US military operations in history. A disproportionate number have come back with mental health challenges like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, research shows. The number of suicides for veterans of these wars has reached a record. The VA is not always able to handle the crushing need for services.

Nearly half of American veterans who need mental health care don't get it. Also, more than half of those who would benefit from care don't know they need it. The majority of those who could use these services don't know whether they are eligible, don't know how to get the services and don't even know that the VA provides mental health care.

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