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

The House Health & Human Services Committee in Denver, CO has approved legislation sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Manny Rutinel to make the I Matter youth mental health program permanent. The bill, SB24-001, passed by 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.

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 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.

Since its inception in 2021, the I Matter program 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 2023 Kids Count report.

Representative Kyle Brown expressed pride in carrying this legislation forward as it is crucial for ensuring that all Colorado youth have access

By Sophia Gonzalez

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