A reader today suggested I research ideas on how to improve mental health related issues since I have been focused on gun control issues since Friday’s school shooting. One of the issues around mental health is a civil liberties issue. How do we identify those who should not have access to firearms and how do we ensure civil liberties are not violated? I live in Denver, Colorado, so lets begin with our Governor, John Hickenlooper, and his plan surrounding mental health. From 7 News in Denver:
The governor’s proposal is called “Strengthening Colorado’s Mental Health System: A Plan to Safeguard All Coloradans.” It includes these five strategies:
Provide the right services to the right people at the right time.
- Align three statutes into one new civil commitment law. This alignment protects the civil liberties of people experiencing mental crises or substance abuse emergencies, and clarifies the process and options for providers of mental health and substance abuse services (requires legislative change).
- Authorize the Colorado State Judicial System to transfer mental health commitment records electronically and directly to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in real-time so the information is available for firearm purchase background checks conducted by Colorado InstaCheck (requires legislative change).
Enhance Colorado’s crisis response system ($10.2 million budget request).
- Establish a single statewide mental health crisis hotline.
- Establish five, 24/7 walk-in crisis stabilization services for urgent mental health care needs.
Expand hospital capacity ($2 million budget request).
- Develop a 20-bed, jailed-based restoration program in the Denver area.
Enhance community care ($4.7 million budget request).
- Develop community residential services for those transitioning from institutional care.
- Expand case management and wrap-around services for seriously mentally ill people in the community.
- Develop two 15-bed residential-care facilities for short-term transition from mental health hospitals to the community.
- Target housing subsidies to add 107 housing vouchers for individuals with serious mental illness.
Build a trauma-informed culture of care ($1.3 million budget request).
- Develop peer-support specialist positions in the state’s mental health hospitals.
- Provide de-escalation rooms at each of the state’s mental health hospitals.
- Develop a consolidated mental health/substance abuse data system.