Mental health is something that has been neglected for way too long in our country and especially in rural Colorado. We all too often criminalize those who need treatment and eventually have interactions with the law. We have an ever growing homeless population that is often left to fend for themselves, yet our biggest complaints come from those who don’t want to spend any funds to alleviate the issues that lead to vagrancy. And lastly, we don’t have specialists in our schools who will catch these behaviors, work with our students exhibiting traits of onset of mental health issues and ultimately set them on the path for productive learning.
We don’t have mental institutions any more and for good reason, but a vacuum was created when no substitution was left in their place. We need to start allocating funds for a modern, mental health initiative that treats not only the behavioral issues, but also the negative stigmas that come with openness to these problems.