March 8, 2022

JOINT RELEASE: SENATE, HOUSE INTRODUCE $5 MILLION BILL TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO BEHAVIORAL HEALTH CARE FOR COLORADO NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES

Legislation to provide grant funding for Colorado land-based Tribes through federal pandemic relief package

DENVER, CO – The Senate and House today introduced bipartisan legislation to increase access to behavioral health care by investing $5 million to support the development of a behavioral health facility and better meet the behavioral health needs of Colorado’s Native American Tribes.

The bill, SB22-148, is part of the legislature’s ongoing commitment to addressing Colorado’s behavioral health crisis using $450 million in federal pandemic relief funds secured in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This legislation was developed based on recommendations from the state’s Behavioral Health Transformational Task Force.

“The Tribes are our partners and neighbors and this is a long overdue investment in behavioral health,” said Sen. Kerry Donovan (D-Vail). “Everyone deserves mental health support in their communities and this bill will support the Tribes’ efforts.”

“This is an exciting project that will significantly increase access to behavioral health services for Colorado’s Native American Tribes,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan (D-Durango). “Members of the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute have confronted rising suicide rates and have nowhere nearby for critical behavioral health care. I’m proud Colorado will be stepping up to build a world class facility to serve tribal members and ensure more people have access to the care they need to thrive.”

To further Colorado Tribes’ ability to provide culturally responsive behavioral health care in specialized facilities, this bill will provide a one-time $5 million grant to Colorado land-based Tribes to support building or renovating a tribal behavioral health facility for inpatient services and transitional housing.