April 25, 2019

Denver, CO — The Colorado State Senate recently voted unanimously to pass SB19-195, Child & Youth Behavioral Health System Enhancements, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) to curb youth suicide in Colorado by making it easier for families to find and access the behavioral healthcare they need. The bill now heads to the Colorado House of Representatives for consideration.

Nearly 9 out of every 100,000 teenagers in the United States between the ages of 15 and 19 die by suicide. In Colorado, that number is nearly twice the national average at 17.6 out of every 100,000 teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We can improve outcomes for kids who experience depression or behavioral health issues despite family income or zip code,” said Senator Rhonda Fields. “This bill will help youth who struggle with mental health issues by providing a comprehensive system of care and empowering families through access. We need to step up and help our fellow Coloradans — this legislation is going to save lives.”

SB19-195 would create the Office of Children and Youth Behavioral Health Policy Coordination in the Office of the Governor, a central agency to coordinate mental and behavioral health resources statewide. Additionally, it would create a commission to study and recommend how to best coordinate and provide such services. The bill would also standardize the screening and assessments that doctors use to identify potential behavioral concerns.

For more information on SB19-195, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-195.