One of the main priorities I have for mental health in my community is to increase mental health parity with physical health. I was very supportive of HB18-1357 on Behavioral Health Care Ombudsperson Parity Reports, which required compliance with mental health parity laws and helped to increase access to care. But this was just a start. We must do a better job of integrating mental health into the full continuum of health where it is not seen differently than physical health. Right now, mental health costs are significantly higher, there is a lack of insurance coverage, and we need more providers.
Another priority I have is ensuring that our children and students have access to a continuum of school-based mental health care from kindergarten through graduation. My child experienced a mental health crisis in elementary school. Had we not had a school-based therapist available to us, the situation could have become tragic. My child received excellent care up until they exited elementary school, but there was no school-based counseling available in middle school. This proved to be very difficult. We discovered many barriers to transitioning my child’s care to the community and my child had a significant relapse. Increasing access to school-based therapy will also help serve a greater number of students as well, particularly for students who may not receive any help otherwise.