Preventing Youth Suicide in Colorado

(April 18) – Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet’s bill to support Colorado youth who want to receive therapy passed out of the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee this evening with a 7-6 vote.

Colorado’s suicide rate has been increasing since 2009 and suicide is the leading cause of death among Colorado youth aged 10 to 14. However, current Colorado law only allows minors to seek outpatient mental health treatment at 15 years of age. HB17-1320, as amended, allows a minor 12 years old or older to receive outpatient psychotherapy services, meaning talk therapy with no medication prescribed. The bill includes a provision to ensure that parents are notified if suicide is mentioned.

“This bill is why I ran for office—my own son attempted suicide at just nine years old,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “In his moment of need, he taught me the importance of empowering youth to be resilient, to be self-advocates and to seek the help that they need. We must find a way to address the high rate of suicide in Colorado and this bill helps our youth in some of the toughest years to seek and find help.”

Rep. Michaelson Jenet also pointed out that the primary setting for a child this age to receive outpatient psychotherapy is through school-based health centers.

The bill now proceeds to the House floor.





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