San Miguel Mental Health Ballot Measure
Tri-County Health Network (TCHNetwork) is requesting that the San Miguel Board of County
Commissioners (BOCC) approve the referral of a county wide 0.75 mill levy ballot measure to appear
on the November 6, 2018 ballot to fund community-based mental health and substance abuse services
in San Miguel County.
San Miguel County, like many rural counties in Colorado, currently experiences a shortage of mental
health providers and has significant gaps in services related to mental health and substance use
In 2016, the County along with the Telluride Foundation funded the creation of a San Miguel County
Behavioral Health Strategic Plan. This plan identified the need to create, implement and manage
behavioral health initiatives, utilizing our existing resources, to increase community education and
awareness around behavioral health and wellness, while expanding access to care for the residents of
the County. Based on this plan, TCHNetwork created a Regional Behavioral Health Commission
(RBHC), comprised of stakeholders across education, law enforcement, health care, mental health, and
social services to guide the implementation of the Strategic Plan.
The RBHC, funded through grants from the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village, has worked over
the past eighteen months to implement the Strategic Plan. We have made great strides in program
development, community education and awareness, integration and collaboration across organizations,
but have also identified the lack of a dedicated and sufficient funding stream to support local
behavioral health initiatives in our county as a major impediment to solving some of the issues facing
The RBHC identified the following areas that are not being addressed or are inadequate to meet the
current needs in the County: mental health services in the schools to help address the issues
confronting schools around student mental health, substance use issues, and concerns about school
safety; the continuing challenges related to mental health and substance use crisis and emergency
response in the County; the need for more robust suicide prevention programs in the community in
light of continuing deaths in our county due to suicide; and the absence of alcohol, opioid, and
substance prevention and treatment programs in the County.
In May of 2017, following discussions with the RBHC, TCHNetwork commissioned Keating Research
to conduct a poll of likely voters in the November 2018 election about their views on mental health and
substance use services and their willingness to support a property tax dedicated to those services in San
When asked if they would support a .75 mill levy “for the purpose of improving the quality,
availability and affordability of community based mental health and substance abuse services in San
Miguel County,” 72% of voters said they would vote yes.
Respondents were also asked about their personal experiences around mental health and substance
abuse—almost 1 in 3 reported that they, a family member, or close friend were experiencing a mental
health or substance abuse issue and 1 in 5 reported that they were not receiving appropriate treatment.
Meeting the needs of our community and improving access to mental health services in our county,
will require an investment in local services. TCHNetwork is requesting that the San Miguel BOCC
approve the referral of a mill levy ballot measure to fund community-based mental health and
substance abuse services in San Miguel County. The four program areas that we recommend for
inclusion on the ballot, based on our needs assessment and on community support, include:
• Mental health counselors and programs in schools;
• Mental health and substance abuse crisis and emergency response services;
• Suicide prevention programs;
• Alcohol, opioid and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
The proposed ballot measure would ask that the County establish a dedicated fund for the monies
raised through this mill levy, to be appropriated based on recommendations by an independent
commission appointed by the BOCC.
We are asking that the BOCC notify the San Miguel County Clerk no later than July 30, 2018, of the
intent to place this measure on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Further, we are asking that the BOCC
submit final ballot language to the San Miguel County Clerk in advance of the September 7, 2018
TCHNetwork has also been working closely with Mental Health Colorado, an organization that is
providing technical assistance on several similar initiatives across the state and is available to answer
questions or provide such assistance to the San Miguel County BOCC. TCHNetwork asks that the
BOCC consider formally requesting such assistance in order to continue to utilize technical assistance
available through Mental Health Colorado. A draft of a letter requesting that assistance is attached.
A draft of the suggested ballot language is attached.
TCHNetwork will work with the County staff to finalize the ballot language and to prepare a resolution
for the BOCC to place this item on the November 6, 2018 ballot.