Colorado Launches ‘I Matter’ Youth Mental Health Program

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This Sara Wilson story appeared on Colorado Newsline on October 29, 2021

Colorado children can now take up to three free mental health counseling sessions as part of a program announced by the governor’s office on Wednesday.

The “I Matter” program is a response to a worsening mental health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is funded by $ 9 million from the Polis administration’s Colorado Comeback roadmap.

“We recognize that the pandemic has magnified the need for mental health services, especially for young people,” Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera said in a statement. “This program is the first of its kind in the country and responds to the urgency of the moment. By providing mental health support directly to Colorado’s youth, we can help them take ownership of their healing, build resilience, and help our state rebuild itself stronger. ”

Coloradians aged 18 and under, or 21 and under for those receiving special education services, can complete a confidential online survey at imattercolorado.org that will assess their needs and then schedule 45-minute sessions. with an advisor if necessary. Most of this care will be done through telehealth.

Children under the age of 12 will need the consent of a parent or guardian to participate, as required by state law.

The allocated funding is sufficient to serve 10,000 children, according to the governor’s office.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that the proportion of children’s mental health-related emergency room visits increased by 31% in 2020 compared to 2019.

“Providing free mental health counseling to students is an innovative and transformational way to meet young people where they are and give them the support they need. I am delighted to see this program become a reality after so much hard work, and I hope to see other states soon follow Colorado’s example, ”said State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Commerce Democrat. City who sponsored the bill establishing the program.

The program is always recruiting vendors, especially those from Black, Indigenous, Latino, and LGBTQ communities. Interested suppliers can send an email to [email protected] for more information.

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