Mary Young

As a lifelong public educator supporting the mental health needs of students and their families first as a special education teacher and then as a school psychologist, one of my primary reasons for running for the legislature was to increase access for all Coloradoans to behavioral health care.  The pandemic has highlighted the need for ongoing increased access to behavioral health services. People need parity between their physical and behavioral health care.   One of the effects of the pandemic is that there is a greater recognition of these needs. As a school psychologist I was fortunate for many years to work in a model of delivering behavioral health services starting at prevention and extending to intervention. This model included collaborating and educating students, teachers and families. Behavioral health services like this need to be provided on a continuous need model not only in schools but for all citizens of Colorado. This needs to include the wide range of unique needs of infants to aging populations and urban dwellers to farmers. This model essentially must be responsive to citizens from communities of color and to all members of our communities no matter what language they speak. As an advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it is time to provide appropriate mental health supports and extricate those with these needs from involvement with the judicial system. I pursued the goal of expanding the availability and quality of mental health services during my first session and will continue this commitment.