Suicide is the leading cause of death in Colorado for young people between the ages of 10 & 24
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(Apr. 12) — A bill sponsored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Rep. Dylan Roberts to help address youth suicide received preliminary approval in the House today.
“Sirens are going off. Colorado’s kids are committing suicide at an alarming rate and they should be able to access the help they so desperately need. It could save a life,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “An epidemic is unfolding before our eyes and studies tell us that suicide continues to increase, but we are failing to adequately invest in solutions.”
Rep. Michaelson Jenet’s son survived a suicide attempt at age 9.
The potentially life-saving bill will reduce the age at which a young person can seek confidential psychotherapy services from a licensed mental health professional without the consent of his or her parent or guardian, from 15 to 12. The bill also requires the department of education, in consultation with the Office of Suicide Prevention, the Youth Advisory Council, and the Suicide Prevention Commission, to create and maintain a mental health education literacy resource bank. The resource bank is available to the public free of charge.
“The suicide epidemic knows no bounds and shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It’s impacting our rural, urban and suburban communities. Eagle County had 18 completed suicides last year in a community of only about 50,000 people,” said Rep. Roberts, D-Avon. “Today, our state took a step toward addressing this epidemic.”
Colorado is ranked third for suicides among youth aged 10-14 and fifth for teen suicide overall.
HB19-1120 was approved on voice-vote and a recorded vote will be taken at a later date.
The youth suicide prevention bill is part of a package of bills to address mental health in Colorado. Rep. Michaelson Jenet is the sponsor of the bipartisan HB19-1129, Prohibit Conversion Therapy for A Minor which will soon be signed into law, and HB19-1017 to increase access to school social workers in public elementary schools.