Colorado kids can now get free therapy and mental health screenings

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 4:13 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - After a difficult two school years, Colorado kids can now get free therapy and mental health screenings.

The state launched a new, online program “I Matter” this week, which offers three, free therapy sessions to youth 18 years of age or younger. or 21 years of age or younger if receiving special education services. Kids over 12 years old can consent to getting their own help.

“With school going remote and youth missing out on sports, activities and social events, young people told us that they were struggling with anxiety, depression, and other behavioral health needs. We knew that we needed bold and urgent action to support them as they navigated these challenges,” said Colorado’s Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera.

11 News first covered this story in April, when lawmakers were trying to give affordable mental health care to youth. This week, that became a reality with the launch of I Matter.

“By making counseling sessions free and accessible, the I Matter platform will empower young people and their families to take charge of their mental wellness. Our youth have weathered this storm with grace, strength, courage and compassion. It’s imperative that we give them the support that they deserve at this time,” said Primavera.

The Children’s Hospital Colorado declared children’s mental health in a “state of emergency” in May after challenges facing kids have reached crisis level. Children’s Colorado saw twice as many patients reporting increased anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation and more.

The program was created out of House Bill 21-1258, which dedicated $9 million to the program and was part of Governor Polis’ Colorado Comeback roadmap. Colorado is believed to be the only state with a program like this.

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).

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