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

The I Matter youth mental health program, which has helped over 11,000 kids receive therapeutic services for mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders, is now set to become a permanent program in Colorado. This was made possible by the House Health & Human Services Committee in Denver, CO who approved legislation sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Manny Rutinel. The bill passed by a vote of 9-4.

Representative Kyle Brown expressed pride in carrying this legislation to ensure that Colorado youth have access to no-cost therapy through the I Matter Program. On the other hand, Representative Manny Rutinel emphasized the importance of passing this bill to continue providing no-cost mental health care services through the I Matter program. He stressed that mental health services should not be limited by a family’s income, and this legislation aims to break down barriers that prevent kids from accessing the care they need to learn, grow, and thrive.

The I Matter program connects youth with licensed mental health therapists for up to six free virtual counseling sessions. The bill seeks to make this program permanent rather than expiring on June 30, 2024. It’s worth noting that the I Matter program was established in the 2021 legislative session and expanded by HB22-1243, which allowed school districts to offer mental health screenings in schools. As a result of these initiatives, there has been a 30 percent decrease in youth suicide in 2023 compared to the previous year according to the Colorado 2023 Kids Count report.

By Samantha Johnson

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