Election 2018 Candidate Survey
The 2018 election is right around the corner, and we want to know where the candidates stand on improving mental health and substance use services in Colorado. We have sent the following survey to the 179 candidates running for the state legislature and for governor. We will post the answers on October 1.
Priority #1: Increase the availability of mental health services in schools and early childhood settings
Prevention and early intervention of mental health concerns in schools and early learning settings help ensure that children and adolescents are healthier and avoid problems in later life.
Question 1: Do you support school policies and funding that increase the availability of mental health services in schools and early childhood settings?
Priority #2: Reduce the suicide rate in Colorado
Colorado ranks among the top ten states in its rate of suicide. National data show that providing follow-up care and support after a suicide attempt or an overdose reduces the risk for future suicide attempts and subsequent visits to the emergency department.
Question 2: Do you support additional funding for follow-up care for individuals after a suicide attempt or overdose?
Priority #3: Establish extreme risk protection orders
Extreme risk protection orders, also known as red flag laws, allow law enforcement to temporarily remove weapons from individuals at significant risk to themselves or others. Such laws save lives while protecting due process rights.
Question 3: Do you support extreme risk protection orders?
Priority #4: Enforce laws requiring insurance companies to maintain adequate provider networks
Often insurance companies do not maintain an adequate network of mental health and substance use professionals to ensure their members have a choice of provider.
Question 4: Do you support strengthening requirements that insurance companies have enough mental health and substance use professionals to guarantee their members have a choice of provider?
Priority #5: Implement a system to track mental health and substance use treatment availability
People with mental health or substance use disorders often find themselves waiting long periods of time to access care. This can mean being held in emergency rooms without treatment or returning to alcohol or drug use. Capacity tracking systems have been used in other states to help people identify where they can find the right kind of treatment.
Question 5: Do you support requirements that hospitals and other providers report information on treatment availability to help individuals, hospitals and law enforcement locate available treatment for people in crisis?
Priority #6: Expand mental health and substance use treatment capacity
Colorado does not have adequate capacity to provide mental health and substance use services to everyone who needs care. This leads to long wait times or people going out of network or out of state for their care. Expanding the system’s capacity would enable Colorado to provide the right level of treatment, at the right time, to anyone in need of care.
Question 6: Do you support providing state funds to expand capacity for mental health and substance use treatment in underserved areas of the state?
Priority #7: Increase investments in affordable housing with supportive services
A recent survey found that two-thirds of chronically homeless people in Colorado indicate they have a mental health concern, and almost half report they have a problem with substance use. Affordable housing with supportive services reduces homelessness among people with mental health and substance use disorders.
Question 7: Do you support additional state investments in affordable housing with supportive services for people with mental health or substance use disorders?
Priority #8: Strengthen insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders
Too often private and public insurance companies deny coverage for needed mental health or substance use treatment. State and federal laws require insurance plans to provide coverage for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders that is equal to the coverage provided for a physical illness.
Question 8: Do you support strengthening laws and transparency requirements compelling insurance companies to provide coverage for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders that is equal to the coverage provided for a physical illness?