Learn about mental health at Vail Symposium event | VailDaily.com

Learn about mental health at Vail Symposium event

Daily staff report

Living in Colorado, people seem to have their physical health fairly well in hand. But when it comes to mental health — it's a different story. Mental illness affects more than 1 million people in Colorado and one in five people in the United States each year, but nearly 60 percent of adults with a mental illness report not receiving mental health services in the previous year. Additionally, Colorado also has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, with even higher rates found in the central mountain counties.

If these sorts of statistics were reported with a disease such as the measles or Zika, then it would be called an epidemic. Perhaps it's time to give mental health the same focus.

Part of the Vail Symposium's Living at Your Peak series, a panel of three experts who are working on the front lines to tackle issues such as depression and mental illness in Colorado will speak on Wednesday at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon. They will discuss strengths and weakness of the current mental health care system, trends in treatment (including telepsychiatry), the role of a primary medical care physician in mental health care and issues in rural and underserved communities.

"People are often surprised to hear about the high rates of depression and suicide in our beautiful mountain communities," said Kris Sabel, executive director of the Vail Symposium. "We hope this program will make more people aware of this challenge faced by many of our community. We're pleased to have these medical experts discuss the current state of health care as well as highlight treatments and breakthroughs that can impact us and our community."

Panelists include Dr. Marshall Thomas, M. D., founding executive director of the University of Colorado Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center; Dr. Frank deGruy III, M.D., M.S.F.M., the Woodward-Chisholm professor and chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; and Dr. Jay Shore, M.D., M.P.H., the director of telemedicine at the University of Colorado Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center.

Wednesday's program is sponsored by Vail Valley Medical Center.

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