Bills to Prevent Suicide Deaths, Improve 2-1-1 Hotline Pass Committee

DENVER, CO– The House Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee today passed two bills that would better connect Coloradans with critical behavioral health support. 

SB21-154, sponsored by Representatives Lisa Cutter and Matt Soper, would implement the 988 national suicide prevention lifeline network in Colorado. By calling this number, individuals will be provided with crisis outreach, stabilization, and acute care that aims to prevent suicide deaths. The bill aims to establish the new hotline by January 20222. The bill passed unanimously. 

“This is such an important bill, and setting up this hotline will make a real difference for people in crisis,” said Rep. Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson County. “This hotline will allow every Coloradan to directly access crisis services that can prevent suicide deaths and life-saving behavioral health care.”

SB21-239, sponsored by Representatives Judy Amabile and Mary Young, would improve the  2-1-1 Statewide Human Services Referral System. The bill appropriates $1 million to expand referral services authorized by the Colorado 2-1-1 collaborative to include referrals for behavioral health services and other resources in the state. By doing so, the 2-1-1 hotline will be able to connect more Coloradans with the mental health services they need. The bill additionally focuses on connecting Coloradans who are unemployed or who do not have health benefits to mental and behavioral health services. 

“We have a behavioral health crisis in Colorado, and one of the highest barriers people face is not being able to connect and access critical services,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “The 2-1-1 hotline already helps Coloradans access state services. The bill we advanced today would simply add behavioral health referrals to what they are already doing so that when people call and need help, they are connected to providers and the state services they need.”

“Too many Coloradans are left without options or without even a phone number to turn to when they need mental health care,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “We’re going to change that. Soon, the 2-1-1 hotline will be able to refer callers to behavioral health services to help more Coloradans get connected with life-saving health care.” 

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