Dear Colorado Public Radio, Am I Crazy?
I think I’m going crazy. Which is concerning because I’ve known I have a bipolar disorder for a very long time, but I’ve learned to recognize it for what it is, an illness. With therapy, meds, and an amazing support team, I truly believed I had re-established a firm grip on reality, but I think I might have been mistaken.
You see, I wanted to learn more about what the Colorado candidates in the upcoming election plan to do about mental health. After all, Colorado has the 7th highest suicide rate in the nation. Colorado Springs and Denver have the 2nd and 8th highest suicide rates of all cities in the United States.
As an avid listener and fan of Colorado Public Radio, I, of course, went to cpr.org to read through their Colorado’s Voter’s Guide to the 2016 Election and learn more about where the candidates stood. This is where things get dicey because this is what I found…
“Such as convicted felons or those with mental health issues, cannot purchase them.” -Diana DeGette on gun control
“Legislation to provide resources for mental health crisis intervention services.” -Ed Perlmutter on gun control
Federal gun laws need to address mental health issues and the state of mind of gun buyers. Bill Hammons on gun control
Colorado Public Radio published “Where The Candidates Stand” for more than 25 candidates, and mental health was mentioned three times, and only in the context of gun control.
According to CDC data, 1,058 Coloradans died by suicide in 2014, 1015 more than Columbine, Aurora, Planned Parenthood, and every other Colorado mass shooting combined, and fewer than 5% of the 120,000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness anyways.
It’s not all bad news. In fact, there are a lot of reasons for hope in the Centennial State. Colorado is home to groups like Sigmend, the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, and the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center who are working with our businesses and communities, making great strides, and providing examples of how to properly address the problem.
So surely our candidates have a better strategy to prevent suicide than to prevent people from getting guns. They cannot think that taking away a gun is going to give enough hope to someone intent on killing themselves for them to reconsider and get treatment.
That’s when I realized, yep, I’m nuts. I realized the candidates didn’t say more because CPR didn’t ask a single question specific to mental health. There’s no way Colorado would be facing a crisis this severe without Colorado Public Radio asking a single candidate about it.
I mean, that would just be crazy…