On Edge: Heightened anxiety, depression are testing Colorado’s already-frayed safety nets
By: Tina Griego and Susan Greene
As coronavirus makes another virulent run through Colorado, a silent epidemic of mental health challenges is feeding on the anxiety and isolation of the pandemic.
On Denver’s west side, an elderly man had been managing his solitude just fine until the pandemic hit, taking with it what social life he had and leaving in its place a loneliness he had not felt for years. Not far from his house, a young woman fights panic attacks after COVID-19 killed her grandfather and landed her in the hospital. Now, she fears the virus will come for her again and this time she will die.
In Fort Collins, the school district announces an early return to online learning, and moments later, a struggling mother calls the local mental health center: “I can’t do this again.”
On the Eastern Plains is a third-generation farmer, and if the pandemic does not weigh on him heavily, this year’s record drought, and the crop failure it caused, do. It sets off an irritability and dread that words do not capture in the same way they cannot capture the layering of crises that marks this time: the body blows dealt by the pandemic, the shaky economy, climate-change driven fire and drought, civil rights reckoning and a polarizing election.