House Speaker Alec Garnett has appointed me to serve on Colorado’s new Behavioral Health Transformational Task Force, which will allocate money from the American Rescue Plan Act to make mental health care more accessible in our state. Senate Bill 21-137 sets aside $450 million of ARPA funds for behavioral health investments.
I’ll be joined in this work by Sen. Brittany Pettersen, Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Sen. Faith Winter, and Sen. Chris Kolker. Our work begins next month, and will focus on increasing access to behavioral health and substance use disorder services across our state.
“The lawmakers I appointed have extensive knowledge of behavioral health policy, carry invaluable experiences with them and are dedicated advocates for their communities,” said Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “There is a clear need across Colorado for transformational changes to make behavioral health care more accessible. We listened to our communities and created a responsible, transparent and bipartisan process to allocate American Rescue Plan Act funds to increase access to mental health. I’m proud to make these task force appointments today.”
As I told Speaker Garnett, I am honored to serve and will work hard to make mental health care more accessible to all Coloradans. – Judy
Daily Camera Opinion: A Deeper Reality
I recently attended a Boulder Police Department town hall. People with urgent concerns around homelessness, drug addiction and crime came to seek relief. They described what they are seeing in their neighborhoods: open air drug use, camping garbage, stolen bike parts, discarded needles, human waste. But this conversation was different. It didn’t start and end with demands that police alone do something. . . Read my recent column in the Daily Camera.
Pew Charitable Trust’s Opioid Policy Academy
I am joining experts across Colorado for The Pew Charitable Trusts’s Opioid Policy Academy. Organized through Pew’s Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Initiative, the academy’s goal is to expand access to effective treatment for substance use disorders, including increased use of FDA-approved medications and therapies.
Task Force: Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System
‘ve also been appointed to a joint year-round committee: Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System. The committee is responsible for overseeing the work of a larger task force and recommending bills accordingly. It includes a wide variety of stakeholders from state and private agencies. The task force looks at issues such as housing for people exiting the criminal justice system, juvenile issues, diversion opportunities, and criminal justice impacts on people with high acuity mental illness. I look forward to making progress on these and other critical issues.