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House Committee Approves Legislation to Establish Permanent I Matter Youth Mental Health Program

Byeditor

Apr 2, 2024

The House Health & Human Services Committee approved a bill sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Manny Rutinel that would make the I Matter youth mental health program permanent. The bill, SB24-001, passed by a vote of 9-4. Rep. Kyle Brown expressed pride in carrying the legislation that will ensure Colorado youth continue to have access to no-cost therapy through the I Matter Program. He highlighted the program’s success in helping over 11,000 children receiving therapeutic services for various mental health challenges.

Rep. Manny Rutinel emphasized the importance of passing the bill to maintain the no-cost mental health care services provided by the I Matter program. He noted that mental health care can be challenging for families to afford and coordinate, making the program invaluable for ensuring access to care for all children regardless of their family’s income. The bill aims to remove barriers preventing kids from getting the mental health care they need to thrive and succeed.

The I Matter program connects youth with licensed mental health therapists for up to six free virtual counseling sessions. While the program is currently set to expire in 2024, SB24-001 seeks to make it a permanent fixture in Colorado, ensuring that students can continue to receive quality mental health care at no cost. The program has been in place since 2021 and has served over 11,000 Colorado youth, providing over 50,000 counseling sessions.

In addition to the I Matter program, the legislature has taken steps to support student mental health by allowing school districts to offer mental health screenings in schools. These initiatives have contributed to a decrease in youth suicide rates in Colorado, as indicated by the 2023 Kids Count report.

By editor

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