Earlier today Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two historic mental health bills into law at Jefferson Center's office in Wheat Ridge. More than 100 supporters were present for the bill signing, including mental health consumers and advocates, staff, board, local and state elected officials and other stakeholders.
In his remarks, the Governor stated that the importance of these bills was to make sure "...that people with mental health problems can get immediate help for themselves and for their loved ones struggling with mental health issues or substance use."
Dr. Harriet L. Hall, CEO of Jefferson Center for Mental Health, welcomed Gov. John Hickenlooper and observed,
"I want to recognize and thank our Governor and all the legislators who understand the importance of behavioral health and sponsored these two bills, as well as the Joint Budget Committee who allocated the money to make a statewide community crisis system a reality. When we can break down the barriers to mental health care for individuals and their families with easy and timely access, we can save lives."
Bill sponsor Senator Tracy Kraft-Thorpe stated, "We have been working on this for a long time". This grassroots program will bring services directly to people and help redevelop Colorado's mental health system Senator Kraft-Thorpe explained.
Senator Jeanne Nicholson, sponsor of the Crisis Response System legislation, stated,
"Finally we have the funding we have wanted for years, to do an excellent job in providing not only immediate services, but long term holistic services... for people who have experienced a mental health crisis in order to help in their recovery.
Bills signed included HB 13-1296 (sponsored by Representatives McCann and Kraft-Tharp and Senator Newell) establishes a task force to update involuntary treatment statutes that were written forty years ago. SB 13-266 (sponsored by Senators Aguilar and Nicholson and Representatives Kraft-Tharp and Young) provides funding to create a statewide coordinated behavioral health crisis response system.