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Bills to Support Colorado Veterans, Enhance Access to Mental Health Care Pass Senate

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

May 11, 2021

DENVER, CO – Today, the Senate approved several bills that aim to support Colorado’s veterans as well as enhance access to critical mental health support across the state:

SB21-129: Veteran Suicide Prevention Pilot Program, sponsored by Senate President Leroy Garcia. This bill would require the Colorado Department of Human Services to establish a veteran suicide prevention pilot program to help reduce the rate of suicide and suicidal ideation among veterans.

SB21-154: 988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network, sponsored by Senator Chris Kolker. This bill would implement 988 as the 3-digit number for crisis response services in Colorado – ensuring a simple, memorable access point for critical mental health care.

“The mental health crisis was prevalent far before the pandemic, but has worsened as suicide rates continue to skyrocket,” said Senator Chris Kolker, D-Centennial. “We are in incredibly trying times and I can wholeheartedly resonate with the many Coloradans whose mental health has suffered as a result, but thankfully there are things we can do right now to help people and save lives. Creating a memorable, 3-digit crisis response number is a transformative step that will put mental health on par with other emergency services – getting people the help they need when they need it most.”

SB21-239: 2-1-1 Statewide Human Services Referral System, sponsored by Senator Chris Kolker & Senator Rachel Zenzinger. This bill would expand the necessary human referral services authorized by the Colorado 2-1-1 collaborative to include referrals for behavioral health services and other resources in the state.

“It is extremely challenging for Coloradans to access mental health care throughout our state, resulting in a significant portion of people who have a mental health condition going untreated. This is simply unacceptable,” said Senator Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada. “By expanding services offered through our 211 human services line, we can connect more Coloradans to vital mental health services and make it easier for them to access the critical treatment they need and deserve – a particularly important initiative as we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month.”

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