Back to Normal?

The official state of emergency is over here in Colorado, and almost all businesses and schools are back to pre-COVID operations (including my office!)

But for some of us, getting “back to normal” doesn’t feel so normal. It’s tough to know how to navigate relationships, socializing, working and family dynamics in this new, post-COVID era. We have changed in the last year and a half – and so has the rest of the world!

Over a year ago, I wrote this article about re-engaging in the world. It actually seems more relevant now than last summer (I guess it was wishful thinking that the end of COVID was in sight back then). One of my favorite tips:

Read the entire article over at Health eCareers.

A New Year

Happy New Year? Do we still say that to each other this year?

We made it through 2020 at least. And I know we’re all hoping for a better 2021. Fingers crossed!

My office remains open for in-person appointments. My office-mates and I are doing all we can to maintain a safe, clean, comfortable space here in Erie. If you have questions about mental health services, please feel free to contact me by phone (303-828-3080) or by email (

Here’s to a new year filled with good mental health and happiness.

photo credit

Yes, I’m here!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am here and am continuing to provide mental health care to the Erie community.

For the time being I am still providing care in person in my office on Mitchell Way. We have increased our cleaning and sanitizing efforts in our suite, have stopped shaking hands and have put away the candy jar 🙁

Just today I got this notice from DORA:

Colorado’s Mental Health Boards are alerting the public that it is at the discretion of mental health providers to account for current circumstances and use their best judgment in choosing telehealth as a modality. This information is in light of the continuing spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and addresses safety concerns of professionals due to the close proximity to clients inherent in face-to-face communications.

So at this time I believe I can safely provide services in person. However, I am open to other forms of communication (telehealth, etc). If you would like to talk about what this might look like for you, please shoot me an email or give me a call. We will get through this together with some flexibility and creativity on all of our parts.

Take good care,

Dr. Stephanie Smith

Resources for Farm Stress

I was reading an article recently about Farm Stress, and the overall mental health crisis that is going on within our country’s farming communities. The pain and suffering is real, and very upsetting.

While I am not a farmer or rancher, I can try to understand the extreme conditions of the job: It’s physically dangerous, unpredictable because of weather, crop prices, and international relationships. Farmers are also making up a smaller and smaller portion of our population (less than 2%), and tend to be more geographically spread out than in years past. All of these factors – and others – combine to create a pressure-cooker of stress.

People are taking notice, however, and working hard to help those who are suffering. I discovered some wonderful resources through North Dakota State University. Here’s one:

And another:

For more information on farm stress and how to cope, check out this article:

What Happens When You Drink Or Drug Too Much?

Problematic use of drugs and alcohol can impact just about all areas of your life and functioning. There are obvious risks of over-using drugs and alcohol that are associated with:
Relationship problems
Disruptions in education
Difficulty maintaining employments
Economic problems
Legal troubles/encounters with the criminal justice system

Drug and alcohol use can also cause many physical and mental health problems, including:

Changes in appetite
Trouble sleeping
Changes in blood pressure
Change in mood
Heart attack
Lung disease

Additionally, when you spend much of your time impaired by alcohol or drugs, it can effect your ability to make healthy, sound decisions. Impulsivity and poor decision making are common when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These poor decisions can lead to other health-related problems such as:

HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other communicable diseases
Poor nutrition
Being at higher risk for trauma or violence

Lastly, drug and alcohol abuse is costly! In fact, it is estimated that alcohol and illicit drug use cost the United States about 160 million dollars each year in lost work productivity, health care costs associated with addiction, and crime.

Addiction – It’s a BIG Problem

Alcohol and drug addiction and abuse are an unfortunate part of life for many Americans. Whether it’s by personal experience, or through watching a friend or loved one struggle, millions of Americans have an experience with drug and/or alcohol addiction each year.

In 2014, more than 16 million adults – that’s about 7% of the population – met criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder. Another 5 million American adults admitted to engaging in risky alcohol use that could lead to addiction in the future.

Alcohol is the most heavily used drug in the United States, followed by marijuana. And unfortunately, recent surveys have found that illicit drug use is on the rise in the United States. Illicit drugs include: marijuana, prescription drugs used other than as prescribed, cocaine, heroine, methamphetamines, etc.

Most people use drugs for the first time as teenagers, and more than half of illicit drug users begin their drug use by using marijuana. Drug use tends to be highest among teenagers and those in their twenties, but recent data suggests that drug use is increasing in people in their fifties and sixties as well.

Drug and alcohol use in children and teens is on the decline overall, with one exception: vaping. As of 2018, vaping among young people had increased dramatically, with 17.6% of 8th graders, 32.3% of 10th graders, and 37.3% of 12th graders admitting to vaping at least once in the last year.

Are you a podcast listener?

I love listening to podcasts! I took me a while to get into it, but now I’m hooked. You know what’s also fun? Being on a podcast! I have gotten the opportunity to be on several different podcasts over the years, and one of my favorites is Produce for Kids’ podcast: The Healthy Family Project. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s worth a listen!

They have a number of new episodes up, including Food as Medicine and How to Get Kids in the Kitchen – along with their huge collection of awesome, healthy and easy recipes. Check it out!

Want to hear one of my interviews? Check out this one about promoting healthy body image in kids:

New Office

Just a reminder that I have moved my office to:

671 Mitchell Way

Suite 109

Erie 80516

All contact info is the same: and 303-828-3080

Here are some photos from my new place:

Main Lobby
Waiting room – Come on in and have a seat!
My new (little!) office. Cozy and quiet, with views of Stop and Save (!!) and the occasional critter outside the window. Welcome!