By Anna Alejo

DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado is currently developing a new Behavioral Health Administration.  It’s one of the most ambitious efforts to reform how people access mental health care in our state’s history.

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Dr. Morgan Medlock is the new Behavioral Health Commissioner for Colorado. She said people need a “front door” to access mental health care easily, on time, and within their means.

“This is really a historic moment for Colorado to build a crisis services center that is able to meet people where they are and also connect them to the continuum of care,” Dr. Medlock said.

Dr. Medlock said that the BHA is working to combine its existing walk-in centers with digital solutions to make access easier for all Coloradans.

More details about how to access care will be released in July when the BHA launches a public-facing care directory.

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For teens, the BHA recently expanded access to free counseling offered via the I Matter program. “I Matter” connects youth with a therapist for up to 6 free virtual counseling sessions with some in-person appointments available. The free counseling will be offered through at least summer 2023.

As part of CBS News Colorado’s commitment with MTV to “Mental Health is Health” we are streaming a Community Conversation on Mental Health. You can watch it via this link https://denver.cbslocal.com/live/ on Thursday, May 19 at 7 p.m. right after the CBS4 News at 6 p.m.  Thursday is Mental Health Action Day.

The special features Dr. Medlock, Dr. Ron-Li Liaw who is Mental Health-in-Chief for Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Steven Haden with Envision: You, an organization advancing behavioral healthcare for members of Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community.

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CBS News Colorado is partnering with MTV on “Mental Health is Health” seeking to improve mental health in our community by normalizing conversation about mental health, sharing resources, and highlighting groups taking action to help others thrive.

Anna Alejo