More mental health resources coming to Colorado youth after dozens of kids have to go out of state for help

KKTV 11 News this Morning
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:30 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - More mental health resources are coming to Colorado youth after dozens of kids had to go out of state to get help.

If your child has an identified mental health need, the ability to access care currently in Colorado is one of the worst in the country. Children’s Hospital Colorado says suicide is the number one cause of death in the state for kids and young adults starting at age 10.

“Not only with respect to suicide, which is heartbreaking in and of itself, but we have a lot of very sick kids and there isn’t the capacity in the state of Colorado to serve that need,” said Heidi Baskfield, Vice President of Population Health and Advocacy at Children’s.

Children’s is seeing twice as many kids struggling with mental health, including having anxiety, depression, isolation or thoughts of harming themselves. Last month, Children’s declared kids mental health in a state of emergency after challenges facing kids reached crisis levels.

“It’s important because if we don’t do something now, we’re going to see an incredible loss of life and I’m not sure how we stand for that as a state,” said Baskfield.

On Monday, Colorado lawmakers approved adding millions of dollars to fund emergency short-term capacity-building for high-quality, specialized youth residential placements and therapeutic foster care. Children’s said the funding can be used to open beds in treatment programs within the next 6 months, but also with the goal of ensuring children and youth are then moved home or into family-like community settings.

“We’re seeing dozens of children having to leave everything that they know, all of that support structure, all of that familiarity, and be shipped out of state for some indefinite period of time to receive treatment. It’s expensive and it’s traumatizing, and it’s something that we need to fix,” saiad Baskfield.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, do not delay. Call 911 or contact the following organizations for immediate support and counseling for yourself or a loved one. Calls are free, confidential and available 24/7.

  • Contact the Colorado Crisis Line by calling 1-844-493-8255 or texting “TALK” to 38255.
  • If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
  • If you need help with drugs, alcohol or addiction, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357 (HELP).

For more information and resources from Children’s, click here.

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