Mental health is one of the most underfunded and under-resourced health issues in our country. 1 in 5 Americans report suffering from a mental health illness each year. But still, finding access to the care people need can be incredibly difficult. And when we don’t treat these health issues, larger problems arise. From homelessness to substance abuse disorders to even how we handle our personal relationships, learning how to manage and deal with mental health is fundamental to everyone being able to live a dignified and fulfilling life.
Almost 70 percent of Coloradans who are depressed are not getting treatment. And of those with mental and behavioral health issues seeking help, the leading cause for why they are not able to get it is cost. Health care plans commonly limit coverage for mental health care and many people struggle to get insurance coverage for their mental health treatment.
Colorado is ranked 49th in the country for teen alcohol dependence, has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country, and 22 rural counties do not have a single licensed psychologist. A single one! Our kids are more likely to die by suicide than any other cause, but for many, they live in counties that do not have licensed physicians to help them.
There are many reasons Coloradans are not getting the mental health care they deserve. And here at Healthier Colorado, we’re fighting for a solution.
This year, we helped pass a bill that helped fill some of the gaps in our mental and behavioral health systems, centralizing where people can get help and making it harder for patients to slip through the cracks.
We also have helped localities pass measures to make sure mental health services are properly funded in their communities, and they are prepared to respond to mental health crisis in investing in their resources and personnel.
There is still a long way to go. And we need your help. We will keep working until every person in need of help for a mental or behavioral health disorder has access to it, and that talking about these issues is just as commonplace as it would be talking about any other physical health problem. Join us now as we work for a healthier future.