By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4)– So many people have experienced tough times during the coronavirus pandemic. Those can include being sick, losing a loved one, losing a job and being isolated from your loved ones.

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During Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Gov. Jared Polis said, “There’s been a 600% increase in telemedicine use for anxiety, depression and substance abuse.”

In any other year, the holiday season marks the passage of another year and can provide a welcome respite for the troubles of the day.

“Holidays are also rituals that bring our families and our communities that meaning, joy and connection,” said Aimee Voth Siebert, Behavioral Health and Inclusion for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

This year, 2020, is different, the holidays may be tough on many more this year.

“Disasters like this pandemic, unfortunately, can shake up a lot of our routines,” said Voth Siebert, “As individuals we may be feeling more isolated this year.”

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So, what can you do if you feel depressed, anxious or alone this year? The first thing is find help; seek out a mental health professional or just talk to a trusted friend or family member, but don’t feel like you have to suffer alone.

You can also think of the positive things that happened this year for a quick mood boost.

“It’s been a tough one but continuing to ask that question, ‘What has made it better?’ can be really helpful,” said Voth Siebert.

You can also help others. Volunteer or give socially distant gifts by leaving them on doorsteps or through the mail and remember is that it’s OK to grieve if you have had a loss in your life, even if it is the holidays.

“There’s no right or wrong way to grieve and no timeline for these feelings,” said Voth Siebert.

It’s also important to remember that everyone is going through something. So embracing the spirit of the season can help others while helping yourself feel better.

“Let’s use this as a reason to be kind to each other and intentional about caring for our mental health,” said Voth Siebert.

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If you feel anxious, depressed, suicidal or have a substance abuse problem the following resources can help you find the help you need:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Colorado Crisis Services: 1-844-493-8255

Health First Colorado (apply for medical insurance and find Dr.): https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/hcpf/colorado-medicaid

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Findtreatment.samhsa.gov

Colorado Spirit Crisis Counseling Program: covid19.colorado.gov/crisis-counseling-program

Colorado LADDERS (find a substance abuse treatment or mental health provider): Colorado.gov/ladders

UCCS GRIT Resiliency Training- build skills to support one another: grit.uccs.edu

Mental Health During the Holidays: covid19.colorado.gov/mental-health-during-the-holidays

Michael Abeyta