(SPONSORED) — State lawmakers introduced a plan at the state capitol to help screen teens for mental health issues, and if passed, the screenings would take place at school.
Officials say the new bill is an extension of a state program that passed in 2021, called I-Matter, which provides free therapy sessions for kids. The legislation would provide mental health evaluations for students. Supporters of the bill said the goal is to give more children access to free therapy.
The bill, however, also prompts concerns about resource availability and parental control. Lawmakers said it would be voluntary and only available for students between the 6th and 12th grades.
Right now lawmakers are working on finalizing the bill’s language. A first vote is expected next Tuesday, Feb. 1.
“I’m very curious how we are going to meet that demand because right now we are already short-staffed as it is,” said Sheryl Ziegler, Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
A recent Colorado Healthy Kids survey showed almost 40% of children reported having feelings of depression in 2021, an increase of almost 10% since 2017.