Colorado House Bill 21-1258 established this temporary behavioral health services program to provide access to mental health and substance use disorder services for youth, including addressing needs that may have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is open to youth 18 years of age or younger or 21 years of age or younger if receiving special education services. <<SEE EDITOR’S NOTES Q&A at BOTTOM OF PAGE>>
The program, called “I Matter,” is funded by the Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health. The program provides up to 3 free behavioral health sessions for youth in Colorado and reimburses participating providers, which are licensed clinicians from agencies and independent contractors.
The I Matter program also has a statewide public awareness and outreach campaign that includes digital ads on platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat, and on-the-ground outreach to schools and youth organizations. Both the awareness campaign and the IMatterColorado.org website were informed by youth feedback.
Governor Jared Polis signed the bipartisan legislation, which dedicated $9 million to the program as part of the Polis-Primavera administration’s Colorado Comeback roadmap. The program is funded until June 30, 2022.
Questionnaire – text on application page
I want to understand my feelings because I matter
If you’ve ever said, ”I’m struggling. I want help,“ you are in the right place. The purpose of I Matter is to promote youth emotional and mental health. To begin, you will need to take a survey. Try to be honest as possible: your answers are completely confidential and will help match you with a clinician who can best support you. No matter your responses, you will be eligible for 3 free counseling sessions.
Get started below. If you’re 11 or younger, your parent or guardian will have to fill out the survey with you.
Parents, if you feel your child is struggling and needs help, you are in the right place to talk to a mental health professional for free. Seeking support for your child is not a sign of failure—it’s a sign of strength. Start by filling out the survey below.
Request for materials
The “I Matter” program has received an incredible response for requests of materials, and so they are pausing orders for posters, rack cards, stickers, banners and lawn signs for the moment. Check back to see if the “request form” has reopened. In the meantime, please raise awareness with the new expanded digital toolkit that includes sample social media posts and more!
Further Details / Q&A
EDITOR’S NOTES: We asked further questions of the Government Representative about the program, as follows:
Q: I wanted to know if it is all done “online” or can people arrange to have it done face-to-face? A: The majority of the 120-plus licensed I Matter clinicians are providing services statewide via telehealth. However, there are in-person sessions available, and we are hoping to grow the number of in-person sessions in the coming month.
Q: Does the counselor have to be on the list?
A: Yes, I Matter has 120 licensed therapists participating as providers currently. To learn more about how a licensed clinician can become an I Matter provider, the counselor should first email Providers@IMatterColorado.org
Q: Also I heard some talk, and segments on TV news, about some people wanting to make this available to teens without a parent’s permission. What can you tell me about that. Is it in the works? Is it a Bill?
A: HB19-1120 which was signed into law on May 16, 2019, permits any Colorado minor 12 years of age or older to seek and obtain psychotherapy services with or without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian if the mental health professional determines (i) the minor is knowingly and voluntarily seeking the psychotherapy services and (ii) such services are clinically indicated and necessary to the minor’s well-being.
Interim Deputy Director of Communications
Department of Human Services, State of Colorado