Cleveland vs. Chicago

Want to start a fight, or at least a good argument? If the presidential contest doesn’t do the trick, try debating Cleveland vs. Chicago.

At a time of such deep and bitter division, here’s some news to bring us together: a plan to put more mental health professionals in Colorado’s schools. Gov. Hickenlooper is proposing to increase funding for school nurses, psychologists, social workers and counselors — 150 new positions in all.

That’s not enough to reach every student in Colorado, but it represents a significant improvement. The governor’s proposal would add nearly $10 million to the School Health Professional Grant Program, matching local efforts to prevent, screen and treat mental health and substance use disorders.

The need is clear. According to the most recent Healthy Kids Colorado Survey,

  • 14 percent of high-school students seriously considered suicide in the past year;
  • 17 percent engaged in binge drinking in the past 30 days;
  • 30 percent reported feeling sad or hopeless every day for two weeks.

Early intervention is key. As the governor notes, “school health professionals work on the front lines and are in the best position to make a positive impact.”

Show your support by thanking Gov. Hickenlooper and encouraging your state legislator to support this budget item.