Should Colorado Ski Towns Tax Pot to Fund Mental Health Services? This is a questions that maybe we should be considering more seriously and asking our local law makers. When one thinks of living in a ski town, mental health issues usually aren’t the first thing that come to mind. With beautiful mountain scenery around every corner, getting to ski or mountain bike almost every day, sharing stories over a drink at happy hour with your friends… who could be so depressed living in what most would consider “Paradise”? Not everyone living in a ski town feels this way though. In fact, Colorado ski towns across the state have seen a recent spike in mental health issues and suicides over the years. With that said, there is a huge need for better mental health services in many of these rural towns. Most counties lack in-patient beds for crisis mental health issues, requiring residents to travel hours to seek care in larger cities such as Grand Junction, Denver or Pueblo. Chris Lindley, director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment, epidemiologist and an Iraq War veteran, said he was stunned by the lack of mental-health services in a ski county that’s a global destination where the population swells by tens of thousands of people during peak winter visitation months. Not only are issues such as the extreme shortage of affordable housing and rising costs of health insurance contributing to the mental health issues, the hard partying culture found in most ski towns doesn’t help. Depression and substance abuse touch those in every walk of life and with the growing suicide rate in our ski towns, maybe it’s about time we make funding for mental health services, in any form, a priority. Maybe we need to ask, Should Colorado Ski Towns Tax Pot to Fund Mental Health Services?
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