The Demons We Shouldn’t Be Afraid Of


October is here already, and many of us are preparing for cooler weather, making holiday plans, and worrying about the frightful sugar coma that will hit our households on Halloween. However, this month’s letter will not be about Halloween, as the real-life goblins and demons overshadow other important aspects about October.

World Mental Health Day is October 16th, and this subject deserves more attention than it has been getting. With all of the information and statistics available to us, we cannot afford to marginalize the scope and impact of mental illness. Recent data tells us that in the United States, almost 1 in 5 adults experience some form of mental illness in a given year, 18% of adults deal with an anxiety disorder, and most alarmingly, 13% of all deaths among our teens are due to suicide. These figures are unacceptable, and we can do better.

A good place to start is to address the stigma associated with mental illness. We’ve made great strides in bringing once-taboo physical ailments out of the closet, and we no longer vilify those taking steps to address addictions. So why does the stigma around mental illness remain? What are we so afraid of, and why is seeking help considered a failure on someone’s part rather than taking proactive steps toward better mental – and overall – health?

Colorado Public Television, along with other media outlets, distributes information and resources available to those who need help – but stopping there is too passive and it’s not moving the needle. The best asset of any organization is the staff; and as such, I pledge to be more vocal about mental health resources in our office. Our colleagues need to hear that we value their mental health as much as their physical health.

As a community, let’s stop the wise-cracks about mental illness, keep up to date on troublesome signs that something is not right, and take two minutes to check in with someone who might be overwhelmed by life circumstances. At one time or another, we all need a bit of help or a little grace. And let’s keep talking about mental health and the resources available to us until the stigma loses its power. Coming up this month, Colorado Public Television will be broadcasting two programs that might be of interest to you: IT’S JUST ANXIETY and THE BRAIN’S WAY OF HEALING. Both programs are also available online for those who prefer on-demand viewing.

For those in crisis, or if someone you care about is struggling, please contact one of the free crisis lines available, such as Metro Crisis Services, a statewide, free service, available 24/7.

Kim Johnson
President & General Manager

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