By Jeff Todd
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Nearly $3 million is jump-starting a shift in how mental health services are administered to Colorado’s youth.
“I had to prove how sick I was in order to get the care I needed,” said Cora Galpern who has gone from patient to advocate. “I struggled most severely with an eating disorder. I was also struggling with depression and anxiety.”
Galpern says the system right now is set up to triage and only treat ‘the sickest of the sick.’
“If people told me your heart drops three more beats, or you lose two more pounds we’re going to have to hospitalize you. Those became goals for me. My goal was then let me get my heartbeat down three beats. I need to prove this is all that matters to me so that I can prove that I matter to you,” she said.
Now, the Colorado Attorney General’s office is spending millions to inspire change. It’s partnered with the pediatric experts, government agencies and Children’s Hospital in Aurora to create programs that will help more children.
Colorado is ranked 9th nationally for child suicides.
Over the next two years, state money will support assessments to keep kids from falling through the cracks. Another program will spread a toolkit to all school districts in the state so they can fund and implement improved mental health evaluations and support for kids.
“Right now the resources are limited. If I have friends that are struggling it’s really hard for them to find care,” said Galpern. “Help is needed, this won’t self-resolve.”
An anonymous way for students, parents, school staff and community members to report concerns regarding their safety or the safety of others
The Trevor Project
Crisis prevention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals
Mobile Crisis Services, Denver Health
24/7 service that provides mental health support to residents of the city and county of Denver and to Mental Health Center of Denver consumers during and after a crisis
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.