DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation to evaluate a comprehensive system that could connect Coloradans with a serious mental illness with behavioral health care resources that lead to long-term recovery. The bill passed by a vote of 59-5.
“Many Coloradans with a serious mental illness end up in our hospitals, jails or without a place to live because they lack access to services that keep them housed, healthy, and employed,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “We’ve invested over $400 million in the last couple of years to increase access to mental health care and substance use treatment. This bill continues to move us forward by working to establish a comprehensive system to treat mental illnesses, prevent cycling in and out of jails, hospitals, and homelessness, and allow all Coloradans the chance to build a better life for themselves.”
HB23-1153, also sponsored by Representative Ryan Armagost, would conduct a study to determine the state’s ability to establish a system that connects Coloradans with serious mental illness with necessary behavioral health care and housing support services. The study would consider statewide data regarding the number of unhoused people living with a serious mental illness, current capacity for inpatient psychiatric units, financial barriers that prevent Coloradans from seeking treatment, behavioral health care workforce shortages, and other factors.