• The Collective

Mental Health in Denver: Disrupting the Narrative

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

I recently posted on my social media platform the following question: “Millennials, when you think about the term ‘mental health’ give me your first three words, thoughts, and(or) reactions. Go!” I got a flood of responses. Here they all are:

Self-care, expensive, stigmatized, lazy, day off, vacations, anxiety, depression, hard days, work/life balance, meaningful community, spiritual peace, beaches, accessibility, life, self-care, unrecognized by insurance, self-care, undervalued, difficult to manage, self-healing, self-growth, lack of resources, selflessness, stigmatized, limited, needed, stigmatized, widespread, underrecognized, hope, resilience, freedom, peace, calm, happiness, self-acceptance, nature/sunshine, reading.

Pretty complex, right? So, what does all that mean? Why did I ask the question in the first place? I am glad you asked! Let’s discuss.

ONE. I asked because I wanted to get a better understanding of the “belief layers” I might need to peel back when writing to my audience. Belief layers? Think about all the messages that were spoken and unspoken for you growing up. Whether that be in your home, school, social setting, etc. Then think about your personal life and how many challenges or obstacles you have faced. Whether that be within your home life, work life, or social life. Our day to day is run by our core beliefs. Some of us have the same core beliefs that our parents have, and their parents, and their parents’ parents. Some of us have completely opposing beliefs. And some of us are figuring out what we believe. Now think of an onion, it has a lot of layers. Hence, I needed to know what layer I needed to start on so I could be on the same page as my peers.

TWO. I was pleasantly surprised. I was surprised at the overwhelming compassion and deep understanding of the reality of mental health with the above responses. I do not know how we went from lineages of avoidance, denial, and shame surrounding mental health to the influx of empathy that poured out from the millennials. But I think it’s time we take some heat off this generation and give a slow clap. In all seriousness, so many of my friends openly utilize therapy, including myself. Countless peers of mine advocate and have studied or are studying mental health career paths, in hopes to have more readily available services to the public. Endless posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter speak up and out about having hard days, struggling with depression and anxiety, and supporting each other through life’s ups and downs. How COOL is that??

THREE. The purpose of all of this is to keep sharing. To keep asking. To keep disrupting the once told narrative that mental health is a sham. So, I challenge you to continue to unearth the stigmatized box that mental health has been placed in. Share YOUR story. We all have one. It’s purposeful, it’s impactful, and it’s okay. Feelings, depression, anxiety, fear, happiness, joy…. embrace it all. And when you need an extra set of ears, or someone to say you aren’t alone…. Go against your instinct to hide away… and disrupt the narrative.

About the Author

Emily Yetzbacher, is the Clinic Administrator of The Collective Integrated Behavioral Health located in Denver, CO. The Collective is a multidisciplinary behavioral health practice that provides holistic therapy and psychiatry services to adults and young professionals. For more information go to

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