Colorado mental health crisis system to add board for new insights


The Colorado Department of Human Services wants some fresh eyes on the state’s behavioral health crisis system to find problems and solutions for services that touch the lives tens of thousands of Coloradans and their families.

The 18-member panel will include local and state officials connected to the system, including four state legislators, that will take six months to look at ways to, in the words of DHS:

After that, the committee will write a report.

“This is an opportunity to enhance the system and to hear from all who are affected by it,” Reggie Bicha, DHS’s executive director, said in a statement. “Colorado Crisis Services has produced many good outcomes for the state of Colorado, and this is the time to make adjustments to ensure it is functioning as effectively as possible for people in need of these services, and for taxpayers.”

Colorado Politics profiled the program for a cover story in our magazine in October. You can read it by clicking here.

We told you how Gov. John Hickenlooper called for a plan to address access to mental health services after the Aurora theater shooting in 2012. The program launched in December 2014 and has since provided help to Coloradans 582,969 services times, according to DHS.

The state aims to improve the system with $7.1 million provided by Senate Bill 207 to help law enforcement do a better job of responding to people having a mental health crisis, along with $2.6 million from the state budget to help law enforcement guide people into services rather than jail.

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