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The past year of pandemic stress has taken its toll on most Americans in ways that many are just beginning to face.

A year into the pandemic, studies are showing that U.S. adults are reporting their highest stress levels since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 80 percent report emotions associated with prolonged stress, says the post-inauguration ‘Stress in America’ survey.  Some 84 percent of U.S. adults are stressed about the state of things, including a bitter election season, societal issues, political unrest and violence, a shaky economy, and a soaring death toll due to COVID-19.

AVV Readers are invited to join a statewide conversation on mental health during these challenging times. At 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 18, the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab) of which Ark Valley Voice is a member, will present a one-hour statewide conversation about mental health as part of “On Edge,” our ongoing series about coping with the crisis.

Our fellow COLab partner 9News, is hosting a one-hour-long panel on mental health.

The conversation, hosted by Jordan Chavez of 9News (who bravely broke stigma barriers to talk about his own mental health) features:

  • Dr. Robert Werthwein, Colorado’s top mental health official who has dealt with his own mental health challenges.
  • Laura Negley from Eads, who faced debilitating depression in a rural community she says doesn’t discuss mental health.
  • Dana Licko from Denver, a mother and former journalist who battles an opioid addiction and talks about the importance of self-care.

There are a couple of ways for AVV readers to participate in this special event.

The panel will be live-streamed at here:


Ask Your Questions

Between now and the start of the panel discussion, community members can send questions and comments about mental health in Colorado and the importance of having open, honest conversations about it.

Text your comments or questions to  303-871-1491 and include MENTALHEALTH (one word) in the text.

Tweet with the hashtag #OnEdge

The mental health conversation may be just the beginning of public acknowledgment of our nearly universal stress. Professionals say much more help is likely to be needed.

“Nearly a year into the pandemic, prolonged stress persists at elevated levels for many Americans. As we work to address stressors as a nation, from unemployment to education, we can’t ignore the mental health consequences of this global shared experience,” said American Psychological Association Chief Executive Officer Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD. “Without addressing stress as part of a national recovery plan, we will be dealing with the mental health fallout from this pandemic for years to come.”

This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. Ark Valley Voice joined this historic collaboration with more than 40 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.