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High Risk At High Altitude

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 and putting "Mental Health Project" in the subject line. 

Our series airs every two weeks starting Tuesday, Dec. 1. 

Drew Beamer / Unsplash

It may be a new year, but the stresses and challenges from 2020 seem to be trickling into 2021. At the national level, the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by right-wing extremists. Locally, people continue to navigate the financial difficulties that have come along with the ongoing pandemic. It has been widely reported that alcohol has become one of the nation’s key coping mechanisms, with consumption rising sharply among adults.

Photo by Pelle Martin on Unsplash

Back in 2019, licensed clinical social worker and therapist Kathleen Callahan was approached by Lindze Letherman and Quinn Gallagher about starting a mental health support group for hospitality and restaurant workers.

Letherman and Gallagher both work at Hooch, in downtown Aspen, and offered the space as a meeting place for local service industry workers to talk about their unique challenges and support each other. Since the pandemic hit, the group “Hospitality Matters,” hasn’t been meeting in-person, but they’ve continued their meet-ups virtually.

Kim Zimmer / Aspen School District

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.

Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Many people feel like the last several months have completely turned their world upside down. From shutdowns, to civil unrest, to new rules popping up all the time, to a seemingly unending presidential election, people are run down.