Southern Colorado | Always Watching Out For You

New mental health initiative aims to combat teen suicide

COLORADO SPRINGS – This week Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced that nearly $3 million will go towards improving youth mental health across the state.

Andrew Romanoff, president and CEO of Mental Health Colorado, said the initiative is a partnership between Children’s Hospital of Colorado and his organization.

He said the state needs more specialists in pediatric mental health which is one of the things the hospital will address with the $2 million it will receive.

The remaining $800,000 will be used by Mental Health Colorado. The plan is to get better resources and training in all school districts across the state so that kids don’t slip through the cracks. Romanoff said suicide has become the leading cause of death among adolescents in Colorado. The state ranks 48th in youth mental health.

Romanoff said, “This is a problem we can fix if we can train teachers and other school staff to spot the early warning signs, if we can engage parents and families in this conversation, if we can put more mental health professionals in the school building where kids spent the bulk of their waking hours.”

Part of this initiative is a free mental health tool kit which will help schools choose and apply suicide prevention programs. It’s a culmination of research over the last year that talks about early warning signs for suicide, how to screen kids for mental health disorders, and evidence-based strategies.

CLICK HERE to access the School Mental Health Toolkit.

As far as training school districts across the state, Romanoff said that will begin in a few months.

If you’re worried about yourself or a loved one please use resources like the Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-8255. If it’s an emergency call 911.

Caiti Blase

Caiti Blase

Multimedia Journalist
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