A new poll from the Colorado Health Foundation shows massive mental strain on Colorado residents from the stress of the physical health risks of the pandemic, severe economic stress, and the police brutality that’s been in the news all over the country.
The annual poll conducted by bipartisan researchers goes by the name of Pulse, and focuses on Colorado residents’ mental health in reaction to events over the past year, as well as Coloradans’ views on certain social issues.
The main takeaways, according to a Pulse news release: Coloradans have experienced a decline in their mental health due to the financial and medical uncertainties of the pandemic; people living in Colorado view financial difficulties as a major issue in the state, and many individuals, especially those from underprivileged communities, are personally being thrown into turmoil financially and medically; on top of the stress kickstarted by the pandemic, the fear of police has permeated Colorado’s LGBTQ+, Black, and Hispanic/Latinx communities.
One in two Coloradans have reportedly experienced increased mental health strain due to the pandemic, including anxiety, stress, and loneliness.
The pandemic has made for desperate financial situations for many individuals. Twenty-two percent of people are somewhat or very worried about losing their homes due to the inability to pay rent or mortgage.
However, about half of Coloradans want to see a delay in fully reopening the economy in order to better protect people against coronavirus.
Many Colorado residents appear to be considering the health risks of the pandemic, and how to approach policy as a result.
When it comes to free vaccines and healthcare for coronavirus, Coloradans appear to generally support equal access for everyone.
Almost half of the poll’s respondents answered that discounted or free access to a COVID-19 vaccine, access to health care, and access to healthy food for everyone are extremely important.
More than half of those polled strongly supported mandatory masks, and free access to COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and medical treatment.
Sending kids back to school seems to be a hugely divisive issue at the moment—respondents are split almost equally on whether the greatest threat to children is the risk of experiencing health complications from COVID-19 by sending kids back to in-person learning, or the risk of children falling behind in curriculum as a result of having to learn online.
Not only did a mere four percent of people respond that both issues were threats to children, but the responses were largely partisan, with Democrats overwhelmingly responding with more concern about health risks, while Republicans expressed more concern over children falling behind in school.
Coronavirus isn’t the only major headline this year–protests sparked huge conversations about police brutality, and thus appeared in this year’s poll.
Nineteen percent of people believed that police violence and misconduct is an extremely serious problem in Colorado, while 39 percent of people thought the problem was not too serious. The biggest demographic difference between the two responses at either end of the spectrum? Race and age.
The majority of people who found police violence and misconduct to be a problem were between the ages of 18 and 29; those who took it the least seriously were more condensed between 50 and 64 years old. There were also notably more Hispanic/Latinx and Black respondents who were seriously concerned about police misconduct.
Overall, people across the political spectrum agreed that financial and economic issues are by far the biggest issues in Colorado–harm to the economy caused by COVID-19, as well as the costs of living and housing, and homelessness, all topped the list.