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April 26, 2024

House Passes Bill to Extend the Successful I Matter Program

DENVER, CO - The House today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Manny Rutinel that would continue the first-of-its-kind I Matter youth mental health program. SB24-001 passed by a vote of 50 to 13, with the majority of Republicans voting against the bill.

“We’re one step closer to extending the successful I Matter Program in our state, which means our youth can continue to have access to no-cost therapy when they need it,” said Rep. Kyle Brown, D-Louisville. “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.” 

“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 Rep. Manny Rutinel, D-Commerce City. “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 bill continues this successful, important program to ensure we’re addressing the needs of our youth.”

The popular I Matter connects youth with a licensed mental health therapist for up to six free virtual counseling sessions, but the program is currently set to repeal on June 30th, 2024. SB24-001 would continue the I Matter program until June 30, 2034, ensuring Colorado students can continue receiving quality mental health care at no-cost to them or their families.

The I Matter program was established in the 2021 legislative session and expanded by HB22-1243. The legislature also passed a law in 2023 allowing school districts to offer mental health screenings in schools to support student’s access to mental health care. I Matter has served over 11,000 Colorado youth since 2021 and provided over 50,000 sessions. According to the Colorado 2023 Kids Count report, youth suicide in 2023 decreased 30 percent from the year before.

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