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June 4, 2024

Bill to Extend I Matter Youth Mental Health Program Signed Into Law

DENVER, CO – Governor Polis today signed legislation into law to continue the first-of-its-kind I Matter youth mental health program.

I Matter connects K-12 students with a therapist for up to six free virtual counseling sessions, but the program was set to repeal on June 30th, 2024. Sponsored by Senators Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson County, and Representatives Kyle Brown, D-Louisville, and Manny Rutinel, D-Commerce City, SB24-001 continues the I Matter program for another ten years, ensuring Colorado students can continue receiving quality mental health care at no cost to them or their families.

“The success of I Matter has been huge for Colorado students, and for the first time in a decade, youth suicide rates have declined - but we must do more to address the mental health crisis gripping our kids,” said Michaelson Jenet. “That is why making the I Matter program permanent is so important. This critical tool is a game changer, and I am thrilled to see this bill get signed into law so we can ensure Colorado students can access the free mental health care they need to thrive.”

“With the signing of this bill, we’re ensuring our youth can continue to have access to no-cost therapy when they need it through the landmark I Matter Program,” said Brown. “Over the years, the I Matter Program has connected over 11,000 kids to therapeutic services for anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, and other mental health challenges. Programs like I Matter remove barriers to access and help our youth receive the behavioral and mental care they need.” 

“Far too many Colorado kids struggle with their mental health, and I Matter has been hugely beneficial in helping support them,” Cutter said. “By extending this successful program , we are doubling down on our commitment to addressing those needs, and ensuring that all of our kids get the mental health care they deserve, at no cost to them or their families.”

“A child's access to mental health services shouldn't depend on their parent's income. By extending the I Matter Program, we’re doubling down on our commitment to ensure our youth can receive the behavioral and mental health care they need,” said Rutinel. “No-cost therapy breaks down access barriers for youth and their families. Since its introduction, the I Matter Program has provided more than 50,000 essential therapy sessions – this law continues this successful, important program to ensure we’re addressing the needs of our youth.”

Launched after the pandemic by then-Representative Michaelson Jenet, I Matter has served 7,933 young people since 2021, and 5,024 have received three or more sessions. According to the Colorado 2023 Kids Count report, youth suicide in 2023 decreased 30 percent from the year before.

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