HB21-1258 (Michaelson Jenet & Van Winkle/Buckner & Woodward) Rapid Mental Health Response for Colorado Youth

Originally Posted: April 23, 2021
Last Updated: June 11, 2021

Summary

This bill would create a temporary youth mental health services program, which would help Colorado’s youth access mental health screenings and services through a web-based application. If passed, the program would reimburse mental health providers for up to three mental health sessions with a young person.  

Position

The Children’s Campaign supports this bill because it will help broaden access to mental health services for Colorado youth. Before the pandemic, many of our students were already facing mental and behavioral health crises. According to Health Kids Colorado Survey, in 2019, more than one third of high school students reported that they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks (a hallmark symptom of clinical depression). Fifty-two percent of Colorado district or school leaders reported being concerned about student emotional support last fall —making it the most common concern cited by education leaders across the state. It is likely that the disruptions and social isolation caused by COVID-19 has exacerbated these mental and behavioral health issues facing Colorado youth.  

Current Status

House concurred with Senate amendments. The bill repassed the House on a vote of 56-9 and now heads to the Governor for signature. 

Previous Statuses


May 7, 2021

Passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 48-15 and now heads to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.  

April 23, 2021

Passed the House Education Committee on a bipartisan vote of 11-1 and now heads to the House Appropriations Committee. Sarah Barnes, Manager of Special Policy Initiatives, submitted written testimony in support.