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DENVER (CBS4) — In his annual State of the State Address, Gov. Jared Polis addressed what he called a “horrifying trend” — a spike in mental health issues among young people in Colorado during the pandemic.

“Here in Colorado and across the nation, the pandemic has worsened what was already a
horrifying trend of young children, teens, and adults suffering increased feelings of anxiety, isolation, depression, and other mental health issues,” Gov.

Polis stated.

“Colorado needs to take bold action now.”

(credit: CBS)

Polis said will involve offering more integrated physical and mental health services, and getting Colorado children the support they need to be happy – “to just be kids.”

RELATED: ‘Shocking’ Number Of Kids Going To Emergency Room For Mental Health Issues During Pandemic

Polis spoke about the free “I Matter Program,” created to connect kids with critical mental health support and introduce a mother and son who were helped by it.

“When Grady – like so many kids across our state – needed mental health support this last year, Melyssa ran up against the harsh reality of an expensive and bureaucratic behavioral health system,” Polis explained.

“She had first struggled to find the support her family needed, until she found the free I Matter Program. Within minutes of reaching out through, Melyssa and Grady were on their way. And a few days later, they were scheduled for their first appointment.”

Polis thanked Grady for attending the event, and praised him for helping to reduce the stigma around mental health and asking for help.

(credit: CBS)

“…you are never alone,” Polis said.

Polis also emphasized the importance of a strong and stable education experience in the wellbeing of children — a point emphasized by Dr. David Brumbaugh at Children’s Hospital Colorado during a news conference earlier this month.

Brumbaugh said a “shocking” number of young Coloradans have been going to emergency rooms during the pandemic for behavioral health crises and suicidal ideation.

He said kids not only learn better when they’re physically present in school, but that in-person learning is critical for the mental health and well being of kids.

“In contrast, when kids are kept out in school, we’ve seen the impacts of acute behavioral health crises and suicidal ideation,” Brumbaugh stated. “Grief can be overwhelming and it’s taking a real toll on our children.”

“The biggest antidote to that is keeping kids in school and keeping them in their normal routines,” he added.


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Tags: denver news jared polis state of the state denver news mental health support mental health issues mental health issues during the pandemic mental health colorado during jared polis in colorado the support

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Advocates Rally for Maryland Lawmakers to Ban Ghost Guns

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a rally in Annapolis on Tuesday to push for state lawmakers to pass a bill that would ban ghost guns.

“We cannot afford to lose more lives to easily accessible ghost guns,” said Denise Reed, a member of the Moms Demand Action chapter.

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The advocates gathered at Lawyer’s Mall and stood alongside delegates and other supporters of the bill.

“We’ve seen an experiential rise of these showing up in crime scenes and being recovered by police departments,” said Melissa Ladd, the leader of the Moms Demand Action chapter.

Ghost guns are firearms made with parts purchased online that allow people to skirt background checks.

“There’s a market of folks who are prohibited, who want access to firearms and this is a legal loophole that allows them to do that,” said Delegate Lesley Lopez, the lead sponsor of the bill in the House of Delegates.

READ MORE: Maryland Dept. Of Health Launches Campaign To Encourage Children's COVID-19 Vaccinations

The bill would ban the sale, receipt and transfer of unfinished frames and receivers that do not have a serial number by June 1. Possession of guns without a serial number would become illegal in early 2023 if the bill is passed.  And owners of ghost guns would have the chance to sell their guns to a dealer before then or have them imprinted with a serial number by a federally licensed arms dealer.

Ladd said that Moms Demand Action has been pushing for laws to regulate ghost guns for the last five years but believes Maryland legislators will be able to pass the bill in 2022 because ghost guns are becoming more prevalent and because several state leaders support the bill including Attorney General Brian Frosh.

17-year-old Walt Whitman High School senior Lily Freeman joined the advocates pleading for action.

“We have seen such little change in our lives when it comes to gun violence,” she said.

Freeman told rally attendees about the Friday shooting at Magruder High School, during which police say one student shot another with a ghost gun. She said students around the country are all too familiar with incidents like it.

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“Today I am thinking of the Magruder High School community. I wish more than anything that there was more that I could do for you. And that is where my plea comes in,” said Freeman. “To Maryland’s lawmakers, I hope that you work with us to ban ghost guns in our state and you continue to bring this issue to the front of your priority list.”

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