A new statewide poll conducted by The Colorado Health Foundation shows that the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative effect on people’s emotional well-being and mental health.
A survey presented to Colorado residents revealed 53% of respondents said they have experienced increased mental health strain, such as anxiety, loneliness or stress in response to the public health crisis.
A total of 2,275 interviews were conducted in English and Spanish from Aug. 5 to Aug. 24 with adult Colorado residents. Interviews were conducted online, over landlines and on cellphones.
Coronavirus was selected as the most important issue facing Colorado right now with 26% of the vote. Government and politics was second with 19%.
The survey also revealed deep partisan divisions on many issues, especially as it relates to the coronavirus.
Asked whether they consider illness and deaths caused by the coronavirus to be an extremely serious or a very serious problem, 68% of respondents who identified as Democrats said it was compared to 21% who identified as Republican.
Lowest income households were also more likely to express concern about their physical or mental health.
More than one in five Coloradans were worried about losing their home in the next year and more than one quarter surveyed were concerned about going without health insurance.
COVID-19 has also resulted in a decline in mental health treatment. Mind Springs Health has reported a 50% decline in outpatient therapy with a 50% reduction in outpatient mental health therapy services started at Mind Springs.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Felicia Romero, the crisis response operations manager at Mind Springs Health, said in a press release from Mesa County Public Health. “We have capacity at Mind Springs and we will not turn anyone away regardless of their ability to pay. In fact, we have a sliding scale fee and we will also help them get set up on Medicaid or Colorado’s health insurance exchange.”
The survey also showed that most respondents said they were comfortable with their employer’s actions to address COVID-19.
Schooling, however, proved to be a dividing issue.
Approximately 46% of respondents said they were more concerned that children will go back to in-person classroom instruction too soon, while 44% said that they were more concerned that children will be kept in online remote learning for too long.
Providing free COVID-19 testing was listed among the policies that respondents wanted to see to address the pandemic along with requiring all individuals to wear a mask in businesses and providing the vaccine for free when it becomes available.