DENVER (CBS4) – A program offering free sessions with a mental health professional to children is online as Colorado grapples with children with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Wednesday, IMatterColorado.org launched and provides services to all Colorado children who may need help.
“There was a need before and COVID only exacerbated the need,” said Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Democrat from Commerce City, who led the legislation establishing the program. “What I hope is that with this platform, with the ability for parents to engage with children in this process, maybe it will open the conversation about what therapy is. Why might I need therapy. What does therapy look like?
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An advisory committee of school-aged children helped guide the state and came up with the name. Online, a survey can help kids and parents find the kind of care they need. Currently there are approximately 700 sessions available, but the funding is sufficient to provide approximately three sessions to 10,000 Colorado children.
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“We know that there are many parents who want it easier and more affordable to access care for their children. It’s about meeting the needs of young people right now, and it’s also about developing that relationship with mental health care, ”said Liz Owens of the Office of Behavioral Health who manages IMatter.
From 12 years old, children can register for the sessions without parental authorization.
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“It removes the cost barrier, it removes the insurance barrier. And we hope that takes some of the fear away, ”said Representative Michaelson Jenet. “If we could let our kids know it’s available to them, ideally through our parents saying, ‘Hey, this is available for you. Do you want my participation? Don’t you want my participation? ‘ And let our children get help in a way that they have never received before.