What We Do

Mental Health Colorado advocates for the more than one million Coloradans who experience a mental health or substance use disorder each year. We engage policymakers, providers, the public, and the press to promote early intervention, expand access to affordable services, and eradicate stigma and discrimination. Our efforts range from the Capitol to the classroom.

Policy Leadership

Mental Health Colorado works with state lawmakers, state and local agencies, and mental health providers – among other stakeholders – to remove barriers to care. Our aim: to make Colorado a national leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.

Our policy leadership has won national recognition. We helped secure the passage of landmark legislation requiring mental health parity, the development of a statewide crisis response system, and the formation of a 24/7 counseling and support service.

Learn more about our public policy efforts:

2017

2016

Mental Health Colorado is a strong proponent of universal screening and early detection – “B4Stage4.” Among other priorities, we seek to ensure that schools have the training and resources they need to identify students at risk of mental health disorders and to refer such students to appropriate services.

Mental Health Colorado presses insurers and regulators to comply with state and federal law – including the guarantee of mental health as an essential benefit, the adequacy of provider networks, and the enforcement of mental health parity. We also champion measures to integrate mental health care into the primary care system; to address the shortage of mental health professionals, especially in rural Colorado; and to steer our state’s criminal justice system toward rehabilitation, not simply incarceration.

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Programs
Mental Health Colorado’s innovative programs have served as national models. In the past decade alone, more than 10,000 Coloradans have benefited from pro bono counseling, Check Your Head, and Mental Health First Aid.
  • Pro Bono Counseling Program
    For three decades, Mental Health Colorado has provided pro bono counseling services to low-income Coloradans. The therapists we recruit currently volunteer at more than 50 nonprofit sites in metropolitan Denver and in Pueblo. In 2015, we joined forces with Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners – an organization that we helped incubate – to grow the pro bono program. RMCP’s staff of 40 licensed clinicians and eight peer specialists operate a 24/7 crisis support line. Each year, this team handles more than 150,000 calls from across the state. RMCP has now assumed responsibility for recruiting and screening pro bono therapists and for matching those who provide private-practice counseling to individual clients. Mental Health Colorado continues to operate the pro bono program at nonprofit host sites. The goal of our partnership is to serve even more Coloradans in need of mental health care. For questions about the Denver metro host site program, send an email. For questions about the Pueblo program, call (800) 456-3249 or send an email.
  • Check Your Head
    Check Your Head
    Check Your Head is a school-based program that uses creative writing, arts, music, and dance – among other tools – to help students recognize and communicate their mental health needs, enhance their self-confidence, and manage conflict. Nearly 1,500 middle and high school students have taken part in the program over the past six years. Mental Health Colorado has shifted Check Your Head toward a “train the trainer” model. We’re teaching school personnel and volunteers to deliver the program directly, with the aim of reaching more students across Colorado. Each section typically begins with classroom discussions. Students are encouraged to share personal experiences on each theme and listen to the experiences of their classmates. The instructors are able to facilitate such discussions sensitively and in a student-centered way, ensuring that material is well-presented and that the classroom environment is safe. Watch this video featuring Check Your Head and the program’s coordinator at Mental Health Colorado, Bianca Mikahn. Questions about the program? Contact Bianca by email.
  • Mental Health First Aid
    USA Mental Health First Aid
    Several Mental Health Colorado staff facilitate trainings in Mental Health First Aid, often referred to as “CPR for the Mind.” This eight-hour certification course teaches participants the warning signs of a mental health issue or crisis, then helps them develop an action plan to provide assistance and link individuals to professional help as needed. The course is delivered by a Mental Health First Aid USA instructor who has completed a five-day training and other certification requirements. A similar program, Youth Mental Health First Aid, uses the same action plan as the adult course and teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a number of mental health issues common among adolescents (ages 12-18). Click here to learn more or to sign up for a Mental Health First Aid training in your area.

Partnerships
Mental Health Colorado plays a leading role in bringing together providers, consumers, advocates, and other groups to develop new solutions that advance mental health in our state. We sparked the creation of the Jefferson Center for Mental Health, the Colorado Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the Colorado Mental Wellness Network, and Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, among other entities. Our commitment to collaboration plays a key role in how we approach our work.
  • Mental Health America
    Mental Health Colorado is a proud affiliate of Mental Health America, the nation’s oldest and strongest voice for mental wellness. For decades, our organization has worked hand in hand with Mental Health America on a range of activities and public education initiatives, including May is Mental Health Month and the B4Stage4 campaign.
  • Behavioral Health Partnership
    In 2009, we spearheaded the Behavioral Health Partnership to unite Colorado’s mental health community. The Partnership includes the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, the Colorado Mental Wellness Network, the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, the Colorado Providers Association, the Colorado Psychiatric Society, the Colorado Psychological Association, and the Colorado chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Association of Social Workers. Partnership members adopted a shared statement of principles on health care reform and the integration of physical and behavioral health. We continue to work closely with these groups.
  • NIMH Outreach
    The Outreach Partnership Program is a nationwide initiative of the National Institute of Mental Health Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison (OCRPL) and is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Program partners with national and state organizations to strengthen the public health impact of research by:
    • Disseminating the latest scientific findings
    • Informing the public about mental disorders and substance abuse
    • Reducing stigma and discrimination
    • Increasing public awareness about the important role of research in the treatment of mental illnesses and addiction disorders, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure
    NIMH website

    Publications for Download

    April 15, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 1, 2017  
  • Mental Health America of Pueblo
    Mental Health America of Pueblo provides education and awareness for understanding mental health issues in the Pueblo community. Individuals or organizations alike are welcome to join. Membership is diverse and includes bankers, attorneys, health professionals, representatives from social service agencies, government employees, and mental health consumers. Mental Health America of Pueblo strives to raise awareness through regularly scheduled educational programs and events. Monthly educational meetings, which are held on the second Wednesday of the month, provide news and statistics that are up-to-date and valuable. For more information, call (719) 966-7642 or send an email to mhapueblo@gmail.com.