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Aspen Public Radio is going to spend the next few months talking about mental health. In general, living in an isolated, rural mountain community is hard during the winter season. We know our region is prone to issues with mental wellness and higher rates of suicide. But when you factor in the news of the last several months, it begins to weigh more heavily.We plan to focus on the collision of pandemic depression and seasonal depression. We will talk about how the "new normal" for the holidays is weighing on many of us. We'll touch on how parents and kids are managing the world around them together, but also separately.We’ll be talking with local experts, but the Aspen Public Radio newsroom also wants to hear directly from our listeners. We encourage you to contact us with any questions, comments or stories by emailing news@aspenpublicradio.org and putting "Mental Health Project" in the subject line. Our series airs every two weeks starting Tuesday, Dec. 1.

High Risk At High Altitude: How Do Kids And Their Families Find Balance In The Middle Of A Storm?

Kim Zimmer
Aspen School District
A student at Aspen High School learning in a socially-distanced classroom. “I feel the worst for these kids and the stuff that they’re not getting to do. I think our kids are the real heroes of this thing,” said district superintendent, Dave Baugh.";s:3:

For many of us, the ongoing pandemic has impacted our mental health in surprising ways, and this includes young people.

In the latest conversation from our “High Risk At High Altitude" series, Aspen Public Radio talked with local behavioral intervention specialist Sonja Linman about what she’s learned from her work with local kids and their families.

Linman worked at Yampah Mountain High School for 26 years before joining the Roaring Fork School District as an intervention and prevention specialist at Glenwood Middle School in 2017. During the pandemic, she has been working with special education students at Glenwood High School.

Morning Edition Host Eleanor Bennett spoke with Linman and asked her what changes she’s seen in the last few decades in terms of the mental health challenges that young people face.