- Cherry Creek School District No. 5
- Building Forward
New state mental health campaign launches for Colorado youth
Cherry Creek Schools students can access up to three free behavioral health sessions, thanks to a new program recently established by the Colorado Legislature.
The I Matter program launched in October and serves students 18 or younger or 21 and younger if the student is receiving special education services. Youth and their parents can visit the I Matter platform to take a confidential online survey about their mental health and schedule sessions with a licensed behavioral health clinician, primarily via telehealth. Youth 12 and older can sign up for counseling sessions without a parent or guardian's consent.
"We created this program to wrap our arms around our Colorado kids,” Colorado State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet said. “We are hoping that your community will follow suit and share these opportunities to improve mental health for all of our kids.”
This is welcome news to many students who have been advocating for an increased focus on mental health in the wake of the pandemic. Savannah Swensen, a tenth-grader at Cherokee Trail High School, shared that mental health impacts all of us.
“Mental health affects your whole life,” Swensen said. “My mental health impacts others and vice versa, so there’s a chain reaction. We have to make sure that we pay as much attention to our mental health to keep our school and community healthy.”
Huldah Belaye, who is also a tenth-grader at Cherokee Trail, has had some very impactful experiences related to mental health.
“Mental health is important to me because I see so many peers of mine who are struggling and don’t know what to do because they aren’t provided with the right resources to cope,” Belaye said. “My hope is that at some point we won’t have to be reactive, but rather we would be able to provide them with the correct tools.”
Students and families can visit IMatterColorado.org to schedule sessions and learn more.