COLORADO SPRINGS — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many people's mental health, with some turning to coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol or using drugs. However, a program is launching soon in Colorado Springs that can help those struggling.
The program is called 'NewLife University,' and it's providing a new sense of hope for recovering addicts. It is one of the many resources LifeStance Health, a mental and behavorial health clinic, offers.
The program includes free indoor and outdoor activities like movie nights, bowling, cooking classes, fishing and golfing, as well as weekly classes on communication, relationships, personal finances, parenting, diet and nutrition, and more.
James Garofalo, the regional director for LifeStance Health says, since the pandemic began the need for these types of services has gone up. They've seen a significant increase in calls and people wanting to talk about substance abuse.
"Because normally when you see declines in mental health, you of course see some of those negative coping skills," said Garofalo.
Garofalo also mentioned more than 50% of Americans reported a decline in their mental health during the pandemic.
"The correlation between isolation and mental health is nothing new, however, unfortunately we're really beginning to see that on a very large scale across the masses now," said Garofalo.
The program is aimed to help those in recovery like John Vaughn, who battled an alcohol addiction for nearly ten years.
"It's very nice to have all the tecniques and constant, just kind of a reminder, not to slip back into your old ways," said Vaughn. ""It's really nice to be a part of that community, to see everyone's positive movement, and it's something to look forward to."
Vaughn hopes the program helps others, the same way he's been helped thanks to resources at LifeStance Health.
"I really think it comes down to, first off, getting help and getting the tools and your lifestyle set up for the way you want to improve," said Vaughn. "It definitely takes practice, and it's constatnt and everyday mindfulness, being present, speaking with good people, and getting help."
People ages 18-65 years old can participate. For more information about NewLife University, click here or call 719-649-1902.