A new film shows the toll of Colorado’s High Country mental health crisis — and one county’s successful response
Bode Miller is one of the producers behind “The Paradise Paradox,” rolling out across Colorado now
There’s a heartbreaking scene in a new documentary co-produced by Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller in which Grand County snowboarder Ben Lynch is driving down the highway sometime before taking his life while on a camping trip with his wife.
It looks cold up there in the mountains, a little gray. That’s the general vibe of the first half of “The Paradise Paradox.” By now, viewers understand the name.
A paradox exists in paradise: Too many people living in Colorado ski towns suffer with mental health problems, including a staggering number who’ve committed suicide in recent years, when it seemed like they should be having the time of their lives.
This happens due to a confluence of forces: wealth gaps in mountain towns that grew into chasms during the COVID pandemic; lack of affordable housing; communities that rely on shredding during the day and partying at night for their happiness; and lack of adequate mental health services to help those dealing with any of these struggles cope.
Alterra Mountain Company is a sponsor of the film, and several of the places highlighted are resorts owned by the company. Winter Park/Mary Jane is one; that may be why Lynch, who was 32 when he died by suicide, is featured. But a major part of the movie — and what bookends it — is a story about Eagle County’s unbelievable success at tackling the mental health crisis that peaked with 17 suicides in 2017.
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