Colorado governor signs bill aimed at mental health for kids to address youth suicide

Photo courtesy: Children’s Hospital Colorado
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DENVER (KKTV) - Symptoms of poor mental health can be hard to detect. That holds true for all ages.

On Thursday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed multiple bills into law addressing mental health. One of those bills, HB19-1120, has the goal of helping address youth suicide.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for kids ages 10 to 24, according to Children's Hospital Colorado. An estimated one out of six teens has a diagnosable mental health condition. Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus alone has seen a 600% increase in child and youth hospital admissions for attempted suicide in the last decade.

“A youth mental health epidemic is unfolding before our eyes and until now, the state has been unable to adequately invest in solutions. Under this new law, Colorado’s kids will be able to access the help they so desperately need. It could save a life,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “The children of our state want more access to mental health resources and we are working to deliver.”

Rep. Michaelson Jenet’s son survived a suicide attempt at age nine, according to a release sent out by Colorado House Democrats.

The new law aims to reduce the age at which a young person can seek out confidential psychotherapy services from a licensed mental health professional without the consent of a parent or guardian.

Click here to read more on HB19-1120.

“If a child has cancer, families know where to go to get help and how to get it. With mental health, we have a fragmented set of programs, caregivers don’t know how to access the services that are available, and the programs are so limited that many don’t have access at all,” says Jena Hausmann, Children’s Colorado’s president and CEO. “This bill is how we begin to change that.”

Gov. Polis also signed SB 19-195 at a Children's Hospital in Colorado on Thursday. A bill the focuses on child and youth behavioral health system enhancements. Click here to read more on HB19-1120. to read more on that bill.

“The gaps in our state’s mental health system won’t be solved over night, but together we are taking a big step toward a more comprehensive system to support our kids,” says Sen. Rhonda Fields. “We need to continue to make youth mental health a top priority— the time for change is now.”

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.