Skip to main content

New Interactive Map and Dashboards Highlight Connection Between Mental Health and Social Factors

Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2020

Good mental health is critical to leading a healthy and productive life. Increasingly, research shows that social factors ranging from housing and food to income and segregation can have profound impacts on mental health. A new resource launched by the Colorado Health Institute, in partnership with The Colorado Health Foundation, offers a new lens on how these factors influence mental health and how they play out in different Colorado communities.

Root Causes: Tracing How Social and Economic Life in Colorado Communities Affects Mental Health lets users explore interactive maps and dashboards that show how various social factors, such as housing, income inequality, and racial segregation, influence mental health.

“Research increasingly tells us that mental health is influenced by everything from housing stability to access to education,” said Emily Johnson, Director of Policy Analysis at the Colorado Health Institute. “But it can be hard to see those connections. Root Causes provides a powerful window into how these factors influence mental health and which Colorado communities we can focus our resources on to ensure that residents have what they need to support good mental health.”

Using data from the Colorado Health Access Survey, American Community Survey, and a variety of other sources, Root Causes represents one of the most dynamic and robust visualizations describing mental health and social factors down to the census tract level in Colorado. Users can select the social factor they are interested in and use the map to explore how these factors play out in different neighborhoods and counties. Users can also navigate dashboards for additional data and research on how factors such as language, gender, income, and race interact with mental health outcomes. Separate county-level dashboards offer detailed profiles of the state’s diverse regions.

The newly launched maps and dashboards represent the first phase of an ambitious project that, once completed, will add to our understanding of mental health and its influences in Colorado. Future project phases will explore changes over time, the impact of policy on these changes, and the relative contribution each factor makes toward mental health.

The project is intended to serve as a resource for community groups and researchers interested in health and equity. It also offers a convenient and accessible data source for reporters seeking insight into the neighborhoods and towns they are covering.

“We are proud to be able to provide this new resource to assist those who are supporting mental health in our communities, and we are grateful to The Colorado Health Foundation for supporting this important project,” Johnson said. “We hope Root Causes will help inform conversations around the relationship between social factors and mental health, identifying where needs are greatest and illuminating the complex dynamics that affect the lives of Coloradans.”

The first phase of the Root Causes project is available at:

For more information

Contact Kristi Arellano, managing director for marketing and communications
720.382.7080 or

Tweet Share Share