• May 18th, 2024
  • Saturday, 10:00:51 AM

Making Progress at Mental Health Colorado

Mental Health Colorado is the state’s leading advocate for the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.  Our mission: to bring effective, affordable care within reach of every Coloradan.

We’re not there yet.

Each year, more than half a million Coloradans go without the mental health care they need.  Our state ranks near last in the nation in the number of psychiatric beds per capita.  And we have one of the highest suicide rates in America.

The good news: we’re making progress.

The law now makes mental health care be covered by insurance, prohibits discrimination in the treatment of mental illness, and requires insurers to maintain an adequate network of providers.

Colorado has created a statewide crisis response system. And Coloradans can talk to a trained mental health professional or someone who has had a mental health condition on the phone (844-493-8255) or text (“TALK” to 38255) seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

That progress has resulted in part from the persistence of Mental Health Colorado and our allies. But we have far more work to do: to curb the cost and expand the supply of services, to promote the screening and early detection of mental health disorders, and to ensure that the laws we help pass are properly implemented and enforced.

We’re hosting a statewide listening tour to identify key barriers to care.  We’re building a network of advocates to help us break through those barriers. And we’re redoubling our efforts to educate the public, the press, and policymakers – and to strip away the stigma that still shrouds mental illness in silence and shame.

This year, we joined forces with a coalition of other health-care organizations to launch a statewide ballot measure. Our initiative, slated for the November election, would increase the tobacco tax to fund mental health care for children and adolescents, as well as medical research, tobacco cessation and prevention programs, and veterans’ services. (Learn more at www.healthyco2016.com.)

Mental Health Colorado is proud to share mental health news and advice with the community monthly in The Weekly Issue/El Semanario. Mental Health Colorado is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and an affiliate of Mental Health America.  Join us at www.mentalhealthcolorado.org.

Andrew Romanoff is the president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado and the former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.

Andrew Romanoff
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