FORT COLLINS — Nearly all calls for service to the Health District of Northern Colorado’s support line, called Connections, have some connection to the COVID-19 pandemic.
About a third of the calls, officials said, are directly related to COVID. The remainder deal with issues such as anxiety and depression that are aggravated by the pandemic.
Topics of calls range from anxiety around job loss, struggles with kids out of school and no clear path for them to return this fall, marital stress caused by all the change society is experiencing due to the virus and loneliness and depression brought on by COVID-related isolation.
“Although we’re not currently offering in-person services, we’re still here to listen to and support people who are feeling overwhelmed because of COVID-19,” said Kristen Cochran-Ward, director of Connections, the Health District program operating the support line. “We want everyone — men, women, older people and teens — to know that they don’t need to be in crisis to call the Connections support line.”
Larimer County residents can call the free Connections support line at 970-221-5551 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If, however, someone is in crisis, residents are encouraged to call the Summitstone Crisis Line at 970-494-4200.
“We know everyone is being impacted in some way by this,” Cochran-Ward said. “We offer a ‘warm line,’ meaning you’ll get a friendly person to talk with about anything, whether you’re frustrated not knowing if your kids are going back to school, nervous about your job, or feeling lonely and tired of social distancing.”
Nick Christensen, a board member on the Larimer County Behavioral Health Council and a commercial real estate investor, is a big proponent of the Connections support line. “It’s about reaching out and talking with someone if you’re having a tough time or want some support. We all need to remember our emotional health is just as important as our physical health and we need to care for it. For me, allowing myself to enjoy a good book or TV series, taking a hike, and talking with supportive people in my life — including a counselor — are all very helpful.”