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Non-crisis line helps Northern Coloradans with pandemic-related depression

Expert: "Don't wait for it to be 'bad enough'"
Posted at 12:20 PM, Sep 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 14:20:39-04

You may call it “COVID fatigue” or “work from home burnout”, but the anxiety and depression people are experiencing right now may be more serious than they think. Two recent surveys have found the pandemic is taking a toll on the mental health of both adults and teenagers.

Heather Meyer of Loveland can relate. She already was seeing a therapist, but says the pandemic brought new struggles.

“I’m stressed, I’m anxious, (but) a lot times my feelings get shoved to the side because I’m watching my kids struggle, so hard,” said Meyer.

Her two sons, in the Thompson School District, are still learning from home. Her daughter, a CSU student, was sent home early from campus during her freshman year. The boys admit there has been sibling and parental tension.

But that’s exactly what Meyer says people need to talk about openly right now.

“Sometimes it’s just being able to say I was a real jerk to my kids today and I feel bad about that, and having someone say, 'Yeah but it’s kind of normal right now,'” she said.

Enter Connections, a partnership with the Larimer County Health District. Connections is operating a non-crisis “warm line” run by peer specialists.

Director Kristen Cochran-ward says people shouldn’t wait for things to be “bad enough.”

“In the summer we saw an increase in calls, especially from people really anxious about what’s going to happen with the school year, how am I going to manage my life , how am I going to manage work, how am going to manage children?” she said.

These issues are all things the peer specialists may be able to help with

“More than anything so many people that call just want somebody to listen to them, and not judge them,” said Cochran-Ward.

Callers can also get information on mental health resources.

Meyer also encourages teenagers to use the line, pointing out that Colorado already had a high rate of teen suicide even before the pandemic.

“For (teens) to be able to make a call and it be anonymous and confidential it could be a really lifesaving endeavor,” she said.

The non-crisis line run by Connections is 970-221-5551.

If you are in crisis, call SummitStone Crisis LIne, 970-494-4200; Colorado Crisis Services, 1-844-493-8255 (or text “TALK” to 38255), or call 911.