Colorado launches new partnership, grant program to combat teen suicide

Posted at 12:36 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 15:03:12-04

DENVER -- The state of Colorado on Tuesday announced a new initiative and partnership to combat a crisis with teen suicide in our state.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s office will provide a $2.8 million grant to launch Partners for Children’s Mental Health. The partnership, which also involves Children’s Hospital Colorado and Mental Health Colorado, will help increase access to mental health services and support for young people.

Shannon Van Deman, the director of partners for Children’s Mental Health, says Colorado is in a crisis, ranked 48th in the country when it comes to our children’s mental health system.

“The fact is Colorado is ranked 48th in this country as it relates to our children’s mental health system and we are saying that’s not okay,” she said.

The partnership will work with pediatricians and hopes to get more support from schools as well.

“The statistics show that 80 percent of kids who commit suicide have seen their primary care in the last year, but when it comes to schools, kids are there every day,” said Van Deman.

Every school district in Colorado will get a tool kit from Mental Health Colorado to help schools identify kids who may be struggling. The partnership also wants to make sure our schools are a place where mental wellness is talked about just like physical wellness.

Andrew Romanoff, the president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado says schools need more funding to do the job.

“I know we’ve asked schools to pick up the tab for a lot of things society has short-changed,” said Romanoff. “it just turns out kids spend the bulk of waking hours at school, and studies show they’re more likely to get care if its available on-site.”