Financial costs, stigma create barriers
Courtesy                    This graphic provided by the Colorado Health Institute shows reasons why Coloradans do not seek mental health assistance.
Courtesy This graphic provided by the Colorado Health Institute shows reasons why Coloradans do not seek mental health assistance.

(Editor’s note: This article is the second in a three-part series examining mental health problems and available services in the Gunnison Valley.)

Gunnison’s Sarah Smith believes she’s struggled with anxiety much of her life. But it wasn’t until she had a mental health crisis two years ago that she realized she needed help.

Smith — whose name has been changed for the purpose of this article — was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and attention deficit disorder. To hear her describe her condition, it’s not difficult to understand why she is exhausted at the end of the day, or how it interrupts everyday functions.

“It feels like my brain runs a million miles a minute all day long, and I feel like my brain is too big for my head,” Smith said. “I feel like I have an elephant on my chest and … I’ll make things a big deal that other people would not see as a big deal. I can’t get in the car without being afraid of getting a flat tire or hitting a deer.”

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