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'O.K. To Not Be Okay': Denver Project Encourages Conversation About Mental Health Issues During The Pandemic

(CBS4) - There's a new effort to make a mental health checkup as regular for Coloradans as going for a physical. The hope is to help Coloradans identify and treat health problems before they become a crisis. 
A Colorado bill would require insurers to cover an annual mental health checkup. If it passes, it would be the first law of its kind in the country. Many people have struggled with their mental health due to the added stress and isolation of the pandemic. Now, there's a push to normalize the conversation and make resources accessible.   
Shane Still is a senior at the University of Colorado Denver. For his senior thesis, he's highlighting the effects of the pandemic on people's mental health through photography and audio storytelling one day at a time. 
"I've been working on this project since September, so its surreal to see it up on the wall," Still said. "There's 31 days in the month of mental health awareness, and so I thought it was the perfect time to share those 31 stories throughout the month." 
The project, 31 Days Denver, shares 31 people's perspectives on mental health. 
"All of these feelings that we have felt through the pandemic are universal," Still told CBS4's Andrea Flores. "Depression, anxiety, PTSD, the loneliness are all factors inciting a lot of mental health issues in the community." 
Shane's former CU Denver schoolmate Jennie Boucneau shared her story of being an Asian American woman during deadly attacks on the Asian community. 
"I think that's when it really hit, and I was like oh my gosh it's happening, it's still happening, and it's not being talked about," Boucneau said.

"Finally,people are starting to talk about it. It made me upset, it made me sad, I was confused I was conflicted, it was a whole bunch of different feelings that I never felt before."

Through 31 Days Denver, Shane hopes to not only share stories, but provide resources to people in need.
"It's O.K. to not be okay, and it's okay to go get help if you need it," he said. 
Still is selling 31 Days Denver masks. Fifty percent of proceeds will go directly to local mental health organizations. 
For more information on 31 Days Denver visit

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