Category: Mental Health - Part 2

Pedaling for health

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon In an ambitious new health agenda, Gov. John Hickenlooper is pledging to cut the number of uninsured people in Colorado by 520,000, prevent 150,000 Coloradans from becoming obese and reduce Medicaid costs by $280 million. Hickenlooper this week released a report called The State of Health as part of his commitment to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. We want to make sure that from the Eastern Plains to the San Juans, from rural communities to urban communities, that at any income, age, gender or ethnicity that everybody has the chance to live the healthiest life they possibly…

Colorado clarifying involuntary hold laws

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorado is the only state in the country where three separate laws govern the actions of police, emergency doctors, mental health and substance abuse experts when patients appear to be a danger to themselves or others and need to be held against their will for 72 hours. A new law winding its way through the legislature, HB 13-1296 , for the first time defines key terms related to involuntary holds including danger to self or others and what it means to be gravely disabled because of a mental health crisis. Originally intended to meld and clarify the three…

Attacks from left and right undermine gun bill on mental health

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon As Adam Lanza fired 154 shots from a rifle, mowing down 20 first graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a group of gun control advocates and law enforcement officers happened to be meeting in Colorado to craft legislation to curb gun violence here. Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, who lost her son to a 2005 shooting, and Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, a former prosecutor and Denver manager of safety, both attended the Dec. 15 meeting. The news from Newtown, Conn., was fresh and shocking. Heartbreaking updates came in spurts on phones. No one knew…

Colorado mounts turnaround after flunking on children’s health

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorado is flunking when it comes to childrens health and its time to mount an aggressive turnaround campaign. That was one of the key lessons from the release last week of the annual Colorado Health Report Card. Were not growing our own healthy children. Our child obesity rate remains in the middle of the pack, said Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation, which releases the report card each spring. Thats where the foundation is really going to emphasize more and more of our work in trying to prevent childhood obesity. It leads…

Opinion: Behavioral health, firearms and suicide: The public health conversation we aren’t having

By Michael Lott Manier In the wake of the heartbreaking tragedies in Aurora and Newtown, the debate over gun control has taken center stage in Colorado. The legislature is now set to consider an expansion of the ways in which individuals who have received treatment for mental health conditions or substance use disorders (collectively known as behavioral health) can be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. The rampage killings that reignited the gun control debate have been inextricably linked in the public consciousness with the issue of mental health. Politicians and gun-rights advocates have focused on the message that the…

Suicides central to gun debate

By Kevin Vaughan and Burt Hubbard I-News Network During the 12-year span between the mass shootings at Columbine and Aurora, Coloradans used guns to kill themselves about four times more frequently than they used them to kill each other, an I-News analysis of death certificates found. The analysis, which covered the years 2000 through 2011, also found that white residents disproportionately committed suicides with guns while minorities were disproportionately victims of homicide shootings. In the wake of the July 20 attack at the Century Aurora 16, which left 12 people dead and more than 50 injured, state legislators introduced a…

Colorado bill aims to keep guns away from people during mental illnesses

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorado lawmakers plan to introduce legislation by next week to make it harder for people with mental illnesses to buy guns. The legislation, which does not yet have a bill number, marks the last of several measures that Democrats are sponsoring this year to try and curb gun violence in the wake of the Aurora theater shootings and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The other bills include measures to limit magazines to 15 rounds, require background checks on all gun transactions, limit guns on campuses and require gun buyers to pay for their own…

Gun rights advocates want control of the mentally ill, not firearms

By Diane Carman The debate over whats to blame for gun violence easy access to guns or lack of access to mental health care ensued in earnest Tuesday night, with intense partisans from both sides in the audience erupting in applause frequently throughout a forum in Denver. Its unlikely that many minds were changed by the time the 90-minute standoff ended in what appeared to be a draw. But the debate highlighted the heated controversy that is being played out across the country as states and the federal government consider gun control bills and mental health care measures in the…

Payroll taxes would fund universal health care proposal

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, plans to introduce a bill on Friday seeking universal health care in Colorado. Under her plan, employers would pay a 6 percent payroll tax for each worker while employees would pay a 3 percent share. Self-employed people and investors would pay a 9 percent tax on income and capital gains. In exchange for those costs, all Coloradans who have lived in the state for at least one year by the beginning of 2016 would become part of a statewide health care co-op and would get platinum-level health plans, the most generous package of essential benefits…

‘Raw’ from tragedies, governor calls for mental health overhaul

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Gov. John Hickenlooper is calling for an $18.5 million increase in state funding to strengthen mental health in Colorado with instant mental health updates available for gun background checks, a statewide 24-hour phone crisis hotline, walk-in mental health centers and a new streamlined commitment law to make Colorado communities safer. Acknowledging that emotions are still raw over the mass killing Friday of 20 first-graders and six educators in Connecticut, Hickenlooper said the mental health overhaul which will require legislative approval has been in the works since two days after the Aurora theater shootings last July. Related…