House Committee Approves Legislation to Establish I Matter Youth Mental Health Program as Permanent

Breaking Down Barriers: Colorado Permanently Funds I Matter Youth Mental Health Program

The I Matter youth mental health program in Colorado has been made permanent thanks to legislation sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Manny Rutinel. The bill, SB24-001, passed with a vote of 9-4 in the House Health & Human Services Committee in Denver. Representative Kyle Brown expressed pride in carrying this legislation to ensure that Colorado youth have access to no-cost therapy through the I Matter Program, which has helped over 11,000 kids receive therapeutic services for mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.

Representative Manny Rutinel emphasized the importance of passing this bill to continue providing no-cost mental health care services through the I Matter program. He stressed that mental health services should not be limited by a family’s income and that this legislation aims to break down barriers that prevent kids from accessing the care they need to learn, grow, and thrive. The I Matter program connects youth with licensed mental health therapists for up to six free virtual counseling sessions, and the bill seeks to make this program permanent rather than expiring on June 30, 2024.

The I Matter program was established in the 2021 legislative session and expanded by HB22-1243. Since its inception, it has served over 11,000 Colorado youth and provided over 50,000 counseling sessions. Additionally, a law passed in 2023 allows school districts to offer mental health screenings in schools to support students’ access to mental health care. As a result of these efforts, there has been a 30 percent decrease in youth suicide in 2023 compared to the previous year according to the Colorado Kids Count report for 2023.

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