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More traumatic events leading to more mental health crisis calls

War. Pandemic. Fires. Hurricanes. Terror attacks. Traumatic events piling up in all our minds are leading to more emergency calls about mental health.

COLORADO, USA — Fires, hurricanes, war, pandemic and terror attacks – there’s a lot going on in the world – and calls to crisis centers for mental health emergencies are increasing.

Crisis center counselors are experts at dealing with people in desperate personal emergencies and with recent traumatic events pilling up on all our minds, counselors are in high demand.

Between historic fires, hurricanes and terrorist attacks in the Middle East and the pandemic and everything else, there’s a lot that requires our attention. 

9NEWS Psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel agreed – it’s exhausting. "Sometimes you need a breath. Sometimes you need like five breaths," said Dr. Wachtel. 

They’re feelings a lot of people are experiencing now.

"It makes those situations feel that much worse because we are already feeling anxious and depressed," said Dr. Wachtel. 

Richard Camp is a senior counselor at Colorado Crisis Services. This year, people are calling more and more stressed about things like mass shootings, natural disasters and the COVID-19 virus. 

Things we’re all dealing with and it's his job to answer the phone.

"These collective issues that we are facing, they do find their way into the calls much more often," said Camp. "When I can just provide that safe open space for someone to unload everything that they’re going through, their traumas and their dramas and so on, their pain and their wounding and their heartbreak, people return to themselves, even in the course of the call."

The challenge in all of this is feeling like we’re coping with it all while not becoming completely desensitized to it. It is common to say, listen, I just don’t have the mental capacity to deal with this right now and that’s ok.

"It’s listening and it’s knowing what the resources are," said Bev Marquez, director of Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners. "We have worry for ourselves and we have worry for our loved ones. Our kids, our parents, our neighbors."

Dr. Carl Clark with the Mental Health Center of Denver said all the fighting about masks and vaccines and so many other topics has a lasting impact. 

"It’s no longer about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about me against you," said Dr. Clark. "We are serving more people now than we were prior to the pandemic. It is around the stress that people are feeling."

So take a breath, go outside and remember you’re not alone.

The Mental Health Center of Denver can be contacted at 303-704-7900 or at this link.

Also, Colorado Crisis Services offers access to trained counselors 24/7 by calling 844-493-TALK (8255), texting TALK to 38255 or visiting the Denver Walk-In Center at 4353 E. Colfax Ave. Anyone in an emergency, should call 911.


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