Dr. Karen McCormick

Society must address our whole health needs, which mean easier access to both physical and mental health systems. The access and benefits must have parity.

Colorado needs better statewide coordination of mental health, physical health, and our criminal justice systems. To better serve those in the public dealing with mental health issues and substance use, we need to build out our mental health care system and shift this care away from law enforcement. Those in law enforcement are not adequately trained to help folks in crisis. Having this be a criminal justice issue is expensive and woefully ineffective. Shifting the care to social services makes a lot more sense and would better serve our population.

Our kids in Colorado schools need mental health counselors and more nurses on staff so that students can readily access these services. We need to teach mental health care in every grade to help eliminate the stigma associated with mental health discussion and to increase understanding and compassion around this issue.

Having more mental health providers and expanding mental health coverage will address some of the short falls we are experiencing. Our state should consider a Medicaid buy-in program for low-income working or disabled people, so that they can have coverage without having to quit their jobs first. We can open increased access to tele-mental health so that people can access counseling during non-working hours of the day or weekends.