The Colorado Behavioral Health Administration presented data today about the I Matter Program
DENVER, CO - The Colorado Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) today presented data in the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee about the I Matter Program, which has provided 5,655 Colorado youth with up to six free therapy sessions.
“I’m so proud that this program has been successful at reaching kids that are looking for mental health support and counseling,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet. “Ensuring that our youth have access to timely, quality mental health services has been one of my main priorities at the Capitol. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated feelings of depression and anxiety in our kids, and the I Matter Program has proven to be an exceptional tool that has helped thousands of Colorado youth.”
The I Matter Program was created with the passage of HB21-1258, sponsored by Rep. Michaelson Jenet, and expanded by HB22-1243. The program received $15 million dollars in funding from the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions to provide a mental health screening followed by six free therapy sessions to youth across the state and is available virtually and in person. Students use a screening tool through the program’s website to match them with licensed mental health professionals that best fit their needs, including bilingual services. If the student needs additional services or shows signs of needing immediate help, their assigned care navigator connects them to long-term mental health care providers or crisis support, including Colorado Crisis Services.
Data from the BHA shows that almost 44% of participating youth used at least four sessions and 83% of youth showed up to their session. The 5,655 students who have utilized this service come from 59 of the 64 counties across Colorado.
Rep. Michaelson Jenet introduced HB23-1003 to expand the reach of the I Matter Program by offering a mental health assessment in schools. Similar to the screening on the I Matter website, the in-person assessment will help identify potential struggles the student is facing and connect them with the I Matter program. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee on February 7.