Reduce impact on daily life of mental illness

Why is this important to Colorado?

  • Colorado currently has the 9th highest suicide rate in the nation.
  • The state lost 1,156 people to suicide in 2016—an all-time high for Colorado.
  • Firearms were used in 52 percent of suicide deaths in Colorado, the leading method of suicide deaths.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for youth age 10-18 and the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults ages 10-44 in Colorado.
  • A 2016 Mental Health America self-report study of adults showed 18.5 percent of adults reported living with a mental illness. Of those, 57 percent reported receiving no care.
  • One in five adults in America experiences a mental illness and one in five children have, or will have a serious mental illness by age 18.
  • Pregnancy-related depression is the most common complication of pregnancy. In Colorado, nearly 1 in 11 women self-report experiencing depressive symptoms postpartum, which is likely an underestimate.

How do we measure success?

  • Reduce the suicide rate from 18.5/100,000 in 2013 to 17.6/100,000 in 2018.
  • Increase the number of patients receiving integrated services for behavioral health and primary care through the State Innovation Model (SIM) from 323,935 in 2016 to 1,345,188 by 2019. Note that this metric only measures integrated services receiving throughout the state. Colorado patients are benefiting from integrating services increasingly being offered by community health centers, private practices in primary care, and federally qualiified health centers, among others. 

    Status Outcome Measure

    Outcome Baseline

    (June 2015)


    (June 2016)


    (June 2017)

    Outcome Target Target Date
    Needs Improvement
    Suicide rate 18.5/100,000 (2013) 19.5/100,000 (2015) 20.9/100,000 (2016) 17.6/100,000 2018


    Integrated services for behavioral health & primary care 0 323,935 325,132 1,345,188 2019

    Source: CDPHE, HCPF

    What actions are we taking?


    Colorado is increasing crisis response services for mental health as well as building a stronger framework for prevention through the integration of behavioral health and primary care.  Through all of our efforts, we are working to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

    • Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) launched a Mental Health Crisis Response hotline and warm line in August 2014. Our goal is to more than double the call volume received by 2018 by combining mental health services with efforts to destigmatize mental illness. 
    • Colorado Department of Human Services is aiming to increase the number of Community Mental Health Centers offering high-quality, evidence-based Competitive Supportive Employment Programs.
    • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is providing targeted outreach, support, and tools for health care systems, working age men, postpartum women, Colorado youth, and firearms retailers. CDPHE is encouraging and supporting health care organizations and systems to adopt the Zero Suicide framework, designed to enhance health care system capacity to support suicidal patients. CDPHE also created Man Therapy ( to engage and empower men in their overall mental wellness by providing online tools, resources, and information and messaging materials designed specifically for men. CDPHE also recently developed a campaign to raise public awareness about the symptoms, health consequences and treatment of pregnancy-related depression and anxiety ( The campaign is running online and leveraging community partners and health care providers, and includes Colorado-specific resources for new and expectant mothers, as well as referrals to Postpartum Support International coordinators for free help in both English and Spanish. A Spanish-language version of the campaign will be launched in late 2017.
    • Colorado is integrating physical and behavioral healthcare in 400 primary care practices and four community mental health centers through the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM), a federal initiative funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This initiative, which is expected to engage approximately 1,600 providers, will create stronger partnerships between public health, behavioral health and primary care sectors to improve patient outcomes, test alternative payment models and reduce burnout among healthcare providers.
    • Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) is working with Primary Care Medical Providers through SIM to support the use of a standardized, age-appropriate, screening tool for depression.
    • HCPF added connectivity for member crisis support through texting and phone lines in the PEAKHealth mobile app at the end of March 2017.