DENVER (May 11, 2022) — Colorado is proud to announce the I Matter program will receive an additional $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding following the passage of House Bill 22-1243, which was sponsored by state Reps. Tony Exum and Kevin Van Winkle and Sens. Chris Kolker and Nick Hinrichsen. Colorado’s youth will now have continued access to free therapy sessions. The program, which launched on last Oct. 27, provides accessible, confidential and non-judgmental behavioral health services to any Colorado youth.
The I Matter program provides up to six free mental health sessions with a licensed provider and is open to youth 18 years of age or younger, or 21 years of age or younger if receiving special education services. With the new funding, the program will extend until at least June 30, 2023, and could continue until June 30, 2024, depending on how quickly funds are expended. The funding was originally set to expire June 30, 2022.
“The I Matter program provides for youth what the new Behavioral Health Administration aims to provide for all Coloradans — accessible, equitable and effective behavioral health care,” said Dr. Morgan Medlock, the state’s first Behavioral Health Administration commissioner. “We look forward to continuing to serve any Colorado youth with free mental health care and to the ongoing focus on the well-being of youth in our state.”
Since the program launch, nearly 2,600 Colorado youth have participated in at least one therapy session and youth from 54 Colorado counties have scheduled an I Matter session. More than 7,500 therapy sessions have been completed or are upcoming. Therapy sessions are free and primarily scheduled via telehealth to increase geographic reach across Colorado for urban, frontier, rural and Tribal populations, removing known barriers to accessing mental health services. More than 150 licensed clinicians participate in the I Matter program.
With Gov. Jared Polis' signature, HB22-1243 will guarantee Colorado youth, adolescents and parents access to I Matter services in English and Spanish for at least one more year, which is vital support as children and adolescent mental health challenges are growing increasingly widespread.
“Seeking help is a strength that can also feel overwhelming. With guaranteed funding for the next year, I Matter will continue to meet youth and parents where they are, bringing a direct connection to care, an outlet to share, and a reminder that Colorado youth matter,” Medlock said.
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.
About I Matter
Accessing and signing up for I Matter services is easy by visiting IMatterColorado.org and YoImportoColorado.org, where visitors will participate in a confidential online survey about their mental health and can schedule their sessions. Per state law, youth 12 and older can consent to therapy. Parents of youth 11 and younger will need to take the survey and consent to services for their youth. Through the I Matter about page, anyone can order free I Matter materials or use the campaign’s toolkit.