(May 1) – The House voted in strong bipartisan support to pass Rep. Meg Froelich’s Child & Youth Behavioral Health System Enhancements to curb youth suicide in Colorado by making it easier for families to locate and access the behavioral healthcare they need.
“We have a mental health crisis in Colorado, one that knows no party lines,” said Rep. Froelich, D-Englewood. “Unfortunately, there are kids that are in pain and are not getting the timely and appropriate help they need. We need to provide more resources for teens, kids and their families to access the services they need to get help.”
SB19-195 would create the Office of Children and Youth Behavioral Health Policy Coordination in the Office of the Governor, a central agency to coordinate mental and behavioral health resources statewide. Additionally, it would create a commission to study and recommend how to best coordinate and provide such services. The bill would also standardize the screening and assessments that doctors use to identify potential behavioral concerns.
Nearly 9 out of every 100,000 teenagers in the United States between the ages of 15 and 19 die by suicide. In Colorado, that number is nearly twice the national average at 17.6 out of every 100,000 teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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SB19-195 passed with a bipartisan vote of 52-13. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.