May 16, 2019

Aurora, CO — Governor Jared Polis today signed into law 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.

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.

“This bill will provide a comprehensive system of care to youth struggling with mental or behavioral health issues and empower families to get them the help they need,” said Senator  Fields. “This legislation is going to save lives and I am proud that it was signed into law today.”

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.

The bill passed the Colorado House of Representatives on May 1, 2019 by a vote of 52-13 and passed the Senate unanimously on April 24, 2019.

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