The COVID-19 pandemic, a divisive election year, social justice movements, climate change.
This is “one of the most stressful times that many of us living have experienced,” said Vincent Atchity, president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado. “We’re in a critical moment for mental well-being for Coloradans.”
A news release states that a 2021 Colorado Health Access Survey revealed that 38% of Coloradans older than 16 “experienced a decline in mental health such as anxiety, depression or loneliness, as the result of COVID-19.” Atchity added that Colorado has experienced an “unacceptably high rate of suicide (and) opioid use and overdose, and overdose death.” Exacerbating the grief, Atchity added, is finding access for care — Colorado has ranked in the bottom third in the country for access to care.
“Colorado has been in a tough place for mental health,” Atchity said. “There’s a concern for Coloradans of all ages.”
Mental Health Colorado, which is a nonprofit that serves as a resource and advocates for mental health awareness, has launched a new campaign to help promote mental well-being among the greater statewide community.
The What’s Your Peace? is a crowdsourcing campaign that launched on Jan. 12 and will run through May, which is Mental Health Awareness month.
The idea is for people to share the real-life ways they “care for themselves and find joy, strength or peace,” states a news release.
“We’ve all got our own unique composition how we put our well-being together,” Atchity said. And “how we make peace for ourselves.”
It can be anything such as knitting, calling a friend, hiking, enjoying a cup of afternoon tea, flyfishing, singing in a choir, yoga or the many other activities that bring people happiness. Coloradans can share their pictures or videos of these activities by visiting Mental Health Colorado’s website, and Mental Health Colorado will assemble them and make them available via its social media channels.
Atchity is hoping for “a diverse picture of all the things” people do, he said.
People in Colorado’s southern plains may do different activities than those in the mountain communities or those in the heart of Denver, Atchity said. Additionally, someone in a rural community may have different struggles than someone in a more populated area.
“It all started with the notion that how we take care of ourselves and others is diverse,” Atchity said. The What’s Your Peace? campaign “can inspire others to try new things, but also bring the realization that there’s community in some of the things we do. This campaign will celebrate the things we each do, and will help inform others about how little things we work into our day can have a dramatic effect on our well-being.”