Mental Health Crisis

The mental health of our community is my top priority. 

We are faced with a paradox of living in one of the best places in america and yet we are one of the leaders in suicides for over a decade now.

Let’s work together to take care of our friends and family in need.

I have been told this is not my problem… Well, that is the problem, we all need to make this a priority.

“Amidst the amazing success our community has experienced, somewhere along the way we have forgotten how to love our neighbor…”

Colorado is #5 in the country in suicide; 
El Paso county is #1 in the state.

Addressing our mental health and suicide crisis at the community level is crucial. We need to improve access for professional care, reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges, develop earlier intervention, increase awareness, and develop stronger support systems. 

When a community neglects to address mental health issues within their neighborhoods, the consequences can be far-reaching and affect various aspects of individuals’ lives and the community as a whole. Here are some potential costs, effects, changes, increases, and issues that a community may face when mental health is not prioritized:

  1. Increased Healthcare Costs:
    Untreated mental health issues may lead to more severe conditions over time, resulting in increased healthcare costs for both individuals and the community as a whole.

  2. Reduced Work Productivity:
    Mental health issues can impact an individual’s ability to perform well at work, leading to decreased productivity and economic losses for the community.

  3. Higher Rates of Substance Abuse:
    Individuals struggling with untreated mental health issues may turn to substances like drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism, leading to an increase in substance abuse problems within the community.

  4. Elevated Crime Rates:
    Unaddressed mental health issues can contribute to increased crime rates as individuals may engage in illegal activities as a result of their untreated conditions.

  5. Strained Family Relationships:
    Mental health issues can strain family relationships, leading to higher rates of family breakdowns, divorces, and challenges in parenting.

  6. Educational Challenges:
    Students with untreated mental health issues may struggle academically, leading to lower educational attainment and increased dropout rates.

  7. Social Isolation and Stigma:
    Individuals facing mental health challenges may experience social isolation due to stigma and discrimination, creating a less supportive and connected community.

  8. Impact on Physical Health:
    Mental health issues are often linked to physical health problems. Neglecting mental health can contribute to an increase in overall health issues within the community.

  9. Loss of Human Capital:
    When individuals with untreated mental health issues are not able to reach their full potential, the community may lose valuable human capital, creativity, and innovation.

  10. Increased Suicide Rates:
    The ultimate consequence of untreated mental health issues can be an increase in suicide rates, which has a profound impact on families and the community at large.

  11. Strain on Social Services:
    The lack of mental health support may lead to increased demand for social services, such as emergency intervention, counseling, and rehabilitation programs, putting a strain on available resources.

  12. Long-Term Economic Consequences:
    Over time, the cumulative impact of unaddressed mental health issues can lead to long-term economic consequences for the community, including decreased economic productivity and increased dependency on social welfare programs.

  13. Community Disengagement:
    A community that does not prioritize mental health may experience higher levels of disengagement and apathy among its residents, negatively affecting civic participation and community development.

How David will work to improve mental health in our COMMUNITY:


In my role as a community leader and small business owner, there’s a part that’s not talked about much. It’s like a secret struggle that people face without anyone knowing. We all have tough days and difficult circumstances, but for some, these events stick with them like heavy chains, making it hard for them to feel okay. Dealing with life becomes an insurmountable task.

Behind the busy storefront of my business, there are hidden stories of hard times. There are people in our community, possibly ones who come to my shop and might have been through really tough times, using fly fishing as a way to cope. Not everyone finds a healthy way to deal with the pain that they carry. Within our community, one out of every five women likely has faced sexual molestation. One in four children, whose parents are part of our community, bears the weight of brutal beatings from those meant to provide solace and protection. It’s possible that one in eight witnesses the tumultuous battleground of physical fights between the pillars of their own foundation—their parents.

In the face of these alarming numbers, a question echoes through my awareness: Why is mental health not taken seriously? The answer, I realize, is shrouded in the pervasive stigma surrounding mental illness, a stigma I unknowingly perpetuated in the daily operations of my small business. Engaged with the rhythm of transactions and the ebb and flow of commerce, I failed to notice the silent struggles within my community. In a world quick to label vulnerability as weakness, many may be suffering in silence, believing the misconception that one should simply “snap out of it.” This erroneous belief perpetuates the cycle of ignorance and dismissiveness, leaving those grappling with mental health challenges to carry the weight of their struggles alone.

It took two suicides within my own business to finally shatter my complacency, to realize the crisis that is often untold, the struggles that are happening before me. These tragedies were the wake-up call I needed, a stark reminder that asking questions and coming alongside those experiencing trauma is not just an option but an urgent necessity.

In our community, El Paso County, more people take their own lives than in other places in our state, and suicides increased by 11% in 2022. Shockingly, 75% of these cases were non-military. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem; we have grappled with this issue for a decade, and it is beyond time to prioritize the hidden struggle and come alongside our community in their tough times and bad days.

That’s why I am running for El Paso County Commissioner District 3. We need strong leadership and a voice for those who have not learned to tell their stories. We need to bring the community together to address this issue. We key partners and caregivers who are working hard on these issues but we are making small gains and tend to operate in silos. We must put a strong effort in as leaders because it’s affecting the lives of people in our community every day.

Getting outdoors has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Spending time in nature has been linked to increased feelings of well-being, reduced rumination, and improved mood. Engaging in physical activity, such as hiking, gardening, or just taking a walk, can also increase the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain.