We know that the lack of behavioral health resources is a pervasive problem here in Colorado. It is crippling and debilitating for so many of our citizens, but unlike a broken bone, mental health is neither so easy to detect or to fix.
The cost of not recognizing and treating mental health issues is huge. In addition to Colorado’s high suicide rate, fallout from mental health affects the behavior of young children in schools, the lost productivity of adults, and the use of our prisons as expensive and ineffective warehouses for people who would be better served with appropriate behavioral health treatments.
I am proud to have a 100% rating on my legislative scorecard from Mental Health Colorado for the 2019 session. I look forward to seeing the 2020 scorecards. 2020 was, needless to say, a difficult legislative year – both increasing the need and reducing the available funding for behavioral health resources in our state.
Colorado needs to continue the progress we have made in recognizing and treating mental health issues and in the treatment of substance abuse disorders. We also know that getting people into stable housing situations puts them in a better position to address their behavioral health issues – making issues like affordable housing all the more important. So many of our problems are interconnected, and if properly addressed not only can better serve individuals, but be more cost-effective for our state.