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Many Colorado Springs residents dealing with long waitlists for mental health treatment

KRDO13 wants to warn you that some of the topics in this report deal with suicide and depression.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - KRDO13 has been hearing from people who tell us they're waiting months to see a mental health counselor in El Paso County.

Brittany Rodriguez told KRDO13 that she has struggled to find consistent mental health treatment since moving to Colorado several years ago.

"Not everybody will take Medicare and Medicaid at the same time. So once you do find a provider and you're trying to go through the process of getting an appointment, it can take anywhere from in my experience, two months or six months to get an appointment," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is currently in a wheelchair and battling a rare medical condition.  She said it has led to struggles with major depressive disorder and PTSD.

"My stomach is paralyzed and there's no cure for it. Currently, we only have a few treatments available. The treatment that I take decreases the dopamine in my brain, and that causes me to have extreme depression and suicidal ideations," said Rodriguez.

 Rodriguez said her physical condition has made it even harder to access mental health care.

 "They said, we do not have a CNA available. We do not have a level of medical care available in order to care for you while you're here receiving mental health treatment," said Rodriguez.

The CEO of Child Community Services and Adult Community Services, Christine Talbott, said it's not uncommon for mental health organizations in El Paso County to have long wait lists. She said that at her organization the backlog for counseling can be anywhere from six to eight weeks long.

"Sometimes we get about 40 referrals in one week and that is just like an influx and we can't staff that quickly enough," said Talbott.

It's an issue leaving people like Rodriguez feeling hopeless.

"It's very frustrating for me because I see how it impacts the people around me and I wish that I had help. So that way I could just enjoy life and not be so stressed about things that are out of my control, like having rare diseases that have no cure," said Rodriguez

Of course, there are no quick answers here. Talbott said the solution is to bring more therapists and more organizations into our community, but of course, that's a change that won't happen overnight.

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about her here.


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