Mental health group looks to solve issues
The state nonprofit group found that area residents want more access to mental health care and lower insurance deductibles for care. The group held meetings throughout the state in recent weeks, hearing from residents in Fort Collins and Grand Junction, Pueblo and Aurora, among others.
“Most of the folks who join our conversation are not satisfied with their access to mental health care for a number of reasons, including the cost of treatment,” said Andrew Romanoff, president and chief executive of Mental Health Colorado.
In Brighton, 26 percent of meeting attendees said they were not satisfied with the mental health services available to them in the community, Romanoff said. Participants also said they had problems finding mental health providers who would take their insurance, and that there was too much of a stigma associated with getting mental health care, he said.
Adolescents can have mental health issues between the ages of 14 and 24, but there appears to be a gap of eight to 10 years from the onset of symptoms to when people go in search of treatment, Romanoff said.
Even when parents identify possible symptoms of mental health issues, they say they don’t know where to get the information or treatment they need, Romanoff said.
Mental health officials will now dig through their findings from residents around the state to try to come up with solutions to problems that were raised, Romanoff said.
“We’re going to try to figure out which of these barriers, the obstacles that we’ve identified can be solved by changes in state law, better enforcement of existing laws, better information, better funding or other solutions,” Romanoff said.
The group is also plans to create a statewide network of mental health advocates, called The Brain Wave. Those advocates will work on solutions, he said.
Mental health disorders can range from anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Substance abuse disorders such as drug or alcohol addiction also contribute to issues, Romanoff said. About 1 million people in Colorado experience a mental health or substance use disorders, he said.
For more information on Mental Health Colorado or to get involved, visit mentalhealthcolorado.org. The group works to improve the quality of care that Coloradans with mental health disorders receive.