Youth Mental Health Support is on the Way

Committee approves Rep. Michaelson Jenet’s bill to invest $9 million into ensuring Colorado’s youth get the mental health support they need

DENVER, CO– The House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee today advanced Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet’s bipartisan bill to dedicate $9 million to provide Colorado’s youth with free mental health screenings and follow-up therapy sessions if needed. The bill is part of the Colorado Comeback state stimulus, a package of legislation that will invest roughly $700 million into helping Colorado recover faster and build back stronger. The bill passed committee by a vote of 12-1.

“Colorado’s young people had enough to worry about before a global pandemic upended the way we live, learn, and work,” said Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “As we work to safely reopen our economy, vaccinate our way into herd immunity, and try to get life back to a semblance of normalcy, we have to deal with the youth mental health crisis head-on. This bill is a truly transformational and innovative way to get our kids the mental health support they need as we return to in-person learning.” 

HB21-1258 would create a temporary youth mental health services program in the Office of Behavioral Health within the Department of Human Services to facilitate access to mental health services for identified needs, including those that may have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program would provide any young person age 18 and under with an online mental health screening and would then reimburse providers for up to three mental health sessions. This support is intended to prepare children for the return to in-person learning and a review of stress management tools, and to make a plan for ongoing treatment when necessary. We estimate that this program can support up to 25,537 children