By Makenzie O'Keefe

DENVER (CBS4)– May is Mental Health Awareness Month and as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic, talking about mental health is more important than ever. The Colorado Crisis Line is seeing above a 30% increase in the number of calls, and community resources like the Mental Health Center of Denver is seeing an increase in demand for services as well.

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“What we’re noticing is that folks are staying in services longer,” explained Cari Ladd, a clinician with the Mental Health Center of Denver. “So perhaps they would have transitioned out of services but because those needs become more complicated and more layered due to the pandemic, folks are staying around.”

Ladd works in the walk-in crisis center, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for “self-defined crisis.”

“What we are seeing is just a little bit of an increase in complexity,” she explained. “So not only are the normal reasons that folks come in to see us present but also more layers so perhaps, job loss or a change or being home, working from home, not having those usual outlets that folks are able to modulate the rest of their mental health.”

Mental health experts say not only are people struggling due to the pandemic in different ways, but some are experiencing anxiety about rejoining society with crowds or re-establishing routine tasks like working in an office. All reasons why talking about mental health and the importance of well-being is so important.

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“I think if we normalize mental health just as we have physical health, it really allows people to get what they need and then move on with their lives in really healthy, happy ways,” Ladd said.

For those dealing with a mental health concern or have a loved one who is, there are many resources. The Mental Health Center of Denver offers walk-in clinics or other settings like an Innovation Tech Lab to provide therapy in individualized ways for nearly every age group.

“If it’s a crisis for you, it’s a crisis for us,” Ladd said.

Anyone needing support or resources can also call the Colorado Crisis Line at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 238255.

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For more information about resources or the Mental Health Center of Denver visit https://mhcd.org/.

Makenzie O'Keefe