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

The I Matter youth mental health program, which has helped over 11,000 kids receive therapeutic services for mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders, is set to become permanent. This was approved by the House Health & Human Services Committee in Denver, CO through legislation sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Manny Rutinel. The bill, SB24-001, passed with a vote of 9-4.

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. Meanwhile, 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. The bill seeks to make this program permanent rather than expiring on June 30, 2024. Established in the 2021 legislative session and expanded by HB22-1243, the I Matter program has served over 11,000 Colorado youth since its inception, providing 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 2023 Kids Count report.

By Riley Johnson

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