Colorado is 27th in the nation for Mental Health Funding, 7th in the nation for suicide and currently number 1 for teen suicide. This is unacceptable! This is my highest priority when elected: to increase access to mental health funding, to help nonprofits that provide help to at-risk teens, to ensure we have a comprehensive mental health system in place so people are receiving care that will result in long term mental health success vice short term quick fixes that don’t address underlying mental health issues. We need to set attainable goals for Colorado starting with moving Colorado to 20th in the nation for funding. Please look up my other mental health statements on www.matthewmenzaforcolorado.com
1) Currently, Colorado is 27th in the nation for mental health funding. I’d like us to have a real tangible goal to move Colorado to 20th in the nation.
2) Funding to make this happen will be done through re prioritizing existing budgets to ensure we are focused on the most important crisis in Colorado, mental health (suicide, addiction, behavioral health needs). At 7th in the nation for suicide and currently number 1 for teen suicide, our focus needs to be on mental health and not on light rail or ambiguous social experiments that don’t help Coloradans in need.
3) I’ve discussed re-routing fastrack RTD money to the mental health crisis especially in times of a budget shortfall, thanks to overextended restrictions on businesses and therefore massive losses in tax revenue.
4) One of the most cited reasons teens commit suicide is that they did not have access to mental health help. We need to focus on how to develop a comprehensive system to ensure thorough community access and we need to ensure this includes tying in the smaller nonprofits that help at-risk teens and adults; the people that often fight for small amounts of grant money.
5) Focusing on a comprehensive system to include our smaller nonprofits will ensure more access to mental healthcare.
6) Other priorities include Ensuring parity is enforced, understood, and respected.
7) Begin to create a way to incentivize mental health workers to enter the field through bonuses, grants for education in mental health
8) Creating a reasonable baseline (higher) minimum recommended pay for experts in this field. This aspect attempts to rebaseline how payers (insurance) should value and reimburse mental health costs. If this is legislatively a bridge too far, at least Colorado should lead the discussion with a unified message with respect to how mental health care should be valued and reimbursed to start highlighting some of the serious challenges with ensuring we have enough experts to provide the desired access.