Martin: Today we debut our mental health series |

Martin: Today we debut our mental health series

Mental health issues are not a problem that can easily be solved, but they can be brought to light. People’s stories can be told and barriers to care can be exposed.

That’s the goal of our four-part mental health series, the first installment of which is published in Friday’s print edition and on our website.

We originally set out to share stories of local people suffering from mental illness. That was over a year ago. But it evolved as we dug deeper into the subject, uncovering surprising statistics and information that illustrates how large of an issue mental health has become in our communities and the problems people face when accessing care.

Talk about mental health is shrouded in a societal stigma, but we were fortunate enough to have many local people willing to share with us their experiences. Throughout our months of reporting on this topic, we verified our belief that those people with mental illness are truly no different than us. Anybody can be struggling inside, and you wouldn’t necessarily know it just by looking at them. With that, we appropriately titled our series: They are us. Many people seem to hold fast to their stereotypes of people with mental health issues, but we have set out to break those notions.

As we gained momentum in our reporting, we held a community meeting to hear the public’s greatest concerns regarding mental health in Grand County. We were pleasantly surprised at how many people were willing to openly talk about their struggles and be involved in our series. And at how many took an interest in the subject, wanting to see change.

Of those we interviewed, we found many stories to be connected to the same systemic problems facing the local mental health care infrastructure and an overwhelming local stigma.

We understand that this series won’t remedy all the problems here. Instead, our mission is to start a public discourse about mental illness, to highlight the things needing change, to share the often intimate, uncomfortable stories of your friends, neighbors and co-workers who are trying to work through an invisible, internal crisis. We want to give mental illness a visible face.

We’re here to say that struggling with mental illness isn’t something that should be hidden or shrugged off. When people realize this they can begin to deal with the problem and, hopefully, encourage others to do the same.

Read the first installment of our mental health series here.

Bryce Martin is the editor of Sky-Hi News.

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