Advancing Colorado's Mental Health Care

A groundbreaking report was released in 2003 that revealed significant challenges within the many systems that deliver mental health care in Colorado. In response, Caring For Colorado Foundation, the Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust and The Denver Foundation created Advancing Colorado’s Mental Health Care (ACMHC). This project supported six community collaboratives over five years to bring together mental health care providers, human service agencies and other partners to address the state’s tremendous mental health care needs.

ACMHC also included the development of an updated assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s mental health and substance abuse disorder systems from TriWest Group. The Status of Behavioral Health Care in Colorado was published in December 2011 at the beginning of many important transitions for Colorado’s behavioral and broader health care systems.

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A Snapshot of Behavioral Health Care in Colorado

2011 Update

  • Nearly 1.5 million Coloradans are in need of treatment for mental health or substance use disorder care.
  • 82 percent of practicing psychiatrists, 86 percent of child psychiatrists, and nearly all psychiatrists specializing in substance use disorder treatment practice in Denver or Colorado Springs, resulting in a critical shortage of providers for rural and frontier areas.
  • Colorado is recognized as a leader in the delivery of behavioral health care in primary care settings.

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