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Emotional support line helping Larimer County residents during pandemic

Posted at 3:30 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 20:41:49-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Real Estate investor Nick Christensen says he didn’t think a lot about his mental health when he was younger.

“It was challenging to take those first steps toward better emotional health. Much of that I didn’t choose to pursue until I was around,” he explained.

“Seeing others in my struggle and in some cases, unfortunately, not continue forward, die by suicide, that impacts me as well," Christensen said.

These days, not only is Christensen focusing on the mental health of others in his community as much of his own. As a member of the board for the Health District of Northern Larimer County, Christensen is helping encourage more men to ask for mental health assistance.

“Men stereotypically choose not to ask for directions, and this the bigger example of that,” he said when describing why many men don’t take steps to improve their mental health.

“There’s a reluctancy because, ‘I’m supposed to be better. I’m supposed to be stronger. I’m supposed to be the one in my family who can tolerate all this,” explained Kristen Cochran-Ward, the director of Connections, the program operating Larimer County’s emotional support line.

Cochran-Ward says the pandemic has taken a toll on everybody – men and women, adults and kids.

“So anxiety, depression, isolation. Again, that feeling of being disconnected from their social circle, their peers, from their support system is really contributing to that more so,” she said. “We want to encourage anybody, particularly men who are struggling at this time, that it’s okay to ask for help.”

Nick said finding an empathetic ear to talk to is all some people need.

“Through doing that you realize it’s a source of resilience and strength to seek that kind of help and continue to get better.”

He also said we need to realize that being “socially” distant really only means being “physically” distant.

“We need each other,” he said. “We’re in this together and we need that support to be successful one way or another.”

Connections is a resource available to all Larimer County residents. They can lend an ear just to talk or direct you to other resources if you need them. The number is 970-221-5551.

Colorado Crisis Services can also help those in need, regardless of where you live in Colorado. Simply call 844-493-8255 (TALK).