Legislative Breakthrough: Bill Makes I Matter Mental Health Program Permanent in Colorado

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

In a historic vote, the House Health & Human Services Committee has approved a bill that will make the I Matter youth mental health program permanent. The bill, SB24-001, passed by a vote of 9-4. The legislation was sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Manny Rutinel and is set to remove barriers preventing kids from getting the mental health care they need to thrive and succeed.

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 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. It connects young people with licensed therapists via virtual counseling sessions for up to six sessions at no cost.

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 significantly towards decreasing youth suicide rates in Colorado as indicated by the 2023 Kids Count report.

Overall, this bill is an essential step towards ensuring that every child in Colorado has access

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