Letter: Mental health deserves a bigger investment | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Mental health deserves a bigger investment

An article in the Steamboat Pilot & Today on Jan. 17 was titled “Local mental health providers fill critical gap.” If only that were true. The article should have been titled “Local mental health providers do the best they can to make a dent in a critical need.”

Surveys conducted in Routt County and Northwest Colorado repeatedly indicate that mental or behavioral health needs are seen as a top priority. But recognizing the need is not solving the problem.

Studies show that those in mountain towns have the highest rates of depression and feelings of isolation, and we are no exception. We have a very high rate of addiction to both drugs and alcohol, and our suicide rate continues to increase year to year despite the best efforts of the nonprofits devoted to addressing the problems. Those needing in-patient care have to travel to either Grand Junction or the Front Range, assuming a bed is available.

We’re generally a physically fit, physically healthy community. We devote funding to biking and hiking trails, all sorts of winter and summer sports, and we pride ourselves on living in one of the healthiest areas in the country. We offer courses at our local college to train students to manage outdoor sports. Our mental health deserves the same investment.

There are no easy answers but that doesn’t mean that answers can’t be found. Mental health is an essential element of health care coverage and provision. We can and must do better.

Marie Matta

Steamboat Springs

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.