Bill sponsored by Greeley Republican Sen. John Cooke aimed at bolstering state’s mental health response passes hurdle in Senate | MyWindsorNow.com

Bill sponsored by Greeley Republican Sen. John Cooke aimed at bolstering state’s mental health response passes hurdle in Senate

Staff reports

A bill would increase support for the Colorado behavioral health crisis system unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 207, sponsored by Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, would expand and strengthen the current system for addressing mental health crises across the state. In 2016, Cooke ran a similar bill designed to limit the use of 72-hour mental health holds. That bill, SB 16-169, passed both chambers of the Legislature, but it was vetoed by the governor. Cooke's new bill addresses the concerns raised in the vetoed measure, according to a news release from Senate Republicans.

SB 207 would expand and improve our current crisis system by strengthening the standards, resources, and preparedness of walk-in centers, recognizing the obligation of Colorado health facilities to stabilize any person experiencing a mental health crisis, and expanding capabilities of mobile response units, according to the release.

Current state law allows health facilities that have reached bed capacity to turn away individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. When they are turned away, law enforcement officials are asked to detain individuals in crisis if they are perceived by authorities as a threat to others or themselves.

"This bill is a huge step toward removing the stigma associated with mental health crises," said Cooke in the release. "We want people to know that a crisis is not a crime, and that they can get the help they need in times of emergency. We want to promote great mental health treatment in Colorado while offering reliable, safe, and comprehensive care for those who turn to us in their most difficult moments."

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What’s next

Senate Bill 207, sponsored Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, which he says would bolster the state’s mental health care system, will move on to a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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