The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience some form of mental illness and 20 percent of children between the ages of 13-18 live with a mental health condition. In Larimer County, 83 people died from suicide in 2016 according to the county coroner’s office.
That's why the Mental Health and Substance Use Alliance of Larimer County, a non-profit focused on mental health, wants to build a new facility and increase funding current mental health options for people in the county.
On Tuesday county commissioners unanimously gave their approval for a ballot measure to fund the new facility. It will be on the November ballot.
The initiative will ask voters for a 0.25 percent sales tax to build and staff a regional facility on Taft Hill Road near Fort Collins and Loveland. Funding from the proposal would also expand and improve current mental and behavioral options for people in Larimer County.
Laurie Stolen is the Larimer County Behavioral Health Project director. She says a similar measure failed in 2016 by about 8,000 votes. This time the campaign will focus on the services the funding will provide in addition to the new building.
“And that includes early identification and early intervention services, suicide prevention, training and curriculum for community members for schools and staff, and teachers in our school districts around Larimer County,” said Stolen.
The overall goal of the project is to keep people out of prison and the legal system in order for them to get the treatment they need. Stolen says identifying mental illness early and providing support will help solve other problems in the community.
“That would include case management, client assistance, maybe there are some housing needs, some employment training, some further education, etcetera,” said Stolen. “The goal for this project to help fill those most critical gaps in the continuum.”
The campaign, Mental Health Matters, also plans to work with private donors for the project.