DENVER (April 20, 2021) — Robert Werthwein, director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health (OBH), released the following statement on Colorado House Bill 21-1258, which passed the Colorado House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee today:
“Colorado youth were already facing behavioral health challenges before the pandemic, and the ongoing isolation and disruption has only added to their hardship. We need to do all we can to make sure youth can heal from the effects of the pandemic and feel prepared going into next school year. I am thrilled that we are one step closer to providing free, confidential mental health support to Colorado youth. I want to thank Rep. Michaelson Jenet for her long-standing leadership on this issue and Rep. Van Winkle for helping make this vision a reality.”
HB 21-1258 would provide a screening and up to three mental health counseling sessions for Colorado youth ages 18 and younger (or up to age 21 for youth receiving special education services) at no cost. The bill is being sponsored by Reps. Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Kevin Van Winkle and Sens. Janet Buckner and Rob Woodward. OBH would oversee the program if approved. The proposal was included in The Colorado Recovery Plan, supported by Gov. Polis and Senate and House leadership.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. Learn more at coloradocrisisservices.org