Colorado kids are in crisis, suffering from high levels of anxiety, depression and thoughts of self-harm. Pandemic-era stressors and isolation exacerbated mental health issues. Now, kids continue to struggle.
Young people struggled with isolation, stress and anxiety during the pandemic and many of these issues continue today. When kids are in crises a lot of them turn to alcohol or drugs to cope. One Denver high school has been uniquely positioned to handle these challenges. Its mission is to help kids stay sober.
Cassandra Armas is a frontline worker fighting to rein in a crisis. Her job, as an in-school therapist was created by a community-wide effort in Eagle County to change the bleak narrative of rural childhood mental health in the region by putting therapists in the schools. Today there are 17 therapists who see students at every school in the district. In 2017 there were none.
Since it was launched over a year ago, the I Matter program has provided therapy to thousands of children across almost all of Colorado’s counties. Lawmakers behind the program say they want to build on it, but some mental health providers say it doesn’t reach the state’s most vulnerable young people.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available. 988, Colorado's Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, is available 24 hours a day.