Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Mental health tips: Part 2 Understanding the importance of community and impact of COVID on community youth

From the Community Health Coalition of the Gunnison Valley

The impact of COVID-19 impacts all of us across the lifespan. Being a young adult is a difficult time for all of us. It is all about finding your place in the world, discovering who you are, likes and dislikes and often making a few mistakes. In this time period there are huge amounts of self-discovery and creating stability for later in life. This time period is one that is defined by social interaction and building relationships. Being a young adult amongst the COVID-19 crisis has made this increasingly difficult. Self-discovery and building relationships have been put on hold in order to survive.

Young adults missed out on many of the celebratory experiences that paint the picture of our accomplishments. Young adults are experiencing stress of school online, loss of physical connectedness and stress of parents and other family members who are finically and physically suffering. However, young adults can be extremely resilient. Many adjusted. Without missing a beat, they began creating virtual hangouts and finding, creating and demanding resources to get help. They took on jobs at grocery stores or gas stations in some cases, providing for their families. A rapid response is the best response, to act before it turns into a crisis. Reaching out to friends because after all, they are probably feeling the same way we are, and connection to others really helps.

Even before COVID struck, Gunnison Valley young people (high school and middle school) were reporting that they were experiencing overwhelming amounts of stress, and a perceived lack of mental health supports. They said their peers were struggling with anxiety, depression, school stress and addiction in some cases, and that they weren’t sure where to turn. They reported that mental health services were not affordable, and thought if they sought help from their trusted adults, that information might not remain confidential.

Thus, Crested Butte Youth Wellness and Gunnison Youth Wellness were born to address these barriers and get youth the help they need.

Funding was secured from the town of Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte and the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley to offer any youth, 12 and older, two counseling sessions at no cost to them. A group of students has been working diligently to help roll out this program. Their mission statement can be found below:

Crested Butte Youth Wellness was created by a group of teens that care for the health and well being of our peers. We are advocating to help teens by offering two free, confidential counseling sessions with a trained mental health professional for youth 12 and older.

Get help today with stress, anxiety, addiction, relationships, family conflicts, stress from the coronavirus, emotional abuse, depression, suicide, school or anything else that is affecting your mental wellness.

For more information, email youthwellness@gunnisoncounty.org or visit our website, www.youthwellnessco.com.

Along with our young people, many adults in the community are feeling high levels of stress and in need of mental wellness support. The COVID-19 pandemic, with the associated economic downturn has created new barriers to accessing mental health services.

CB State of Mind is a new grassroots organization successfully providing immediate mental health counseling for those of any age who are under-insured or uninsured in our community. Please reach out if you are having a hard time finding help because of barriers involving cost or insurance, navigating the system or connecting to the right service. If locating and paying for therapy is a challenge for you, CB State of Mind might be a resource for you. Go to www.cbstateofmind.org or mdougherty@cbstateofmind.org.

We share this with you to raise awareness of the impact of stress and the importance of taking care of each other, and ourselves, as a community.

Remember: Staying socially connected during this time is important. We can all help each other out. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Reach out to those in your life who may need a little extra support. A phone call, text or email will go a long way.

Taking advantage of resources for food or rental assistance offered by the county and local churches can really help reduce stress. There are scholarships for counseling available or you can call a peer support specialist (they are always free!). Getting community support simply means we love our family and ourselves and we are willing to do whatever is needed to thrive in these challenging times.

We are all here to support one another.

Check Also

Soldiers of the Soil

Part 1: Growing during the coronavirus crisis By Dawne Belloise (Editor’s Note: Taking a page …