Mental Health FAQs

(from The State of Mental Health in America 2018, Colorado Health Institute, and Colorado Office of Early Childhood)

How widespread are mental-health conditions?

  • 1 in 5 adults in the United States have a mental-health condition. That’s over 40 million Americans; more than the populations of New York and Florida combined. Nearly half have a co-occurring substance misuse disorder.
  • 12% of youth (age 12-17) in the United States report suffering from at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • In Colorado, suicide is the leading cause of death in the 10 to 24-year-old age group.
  • A record 1,156 people in Colorado died by suicide in 2016. Suicide is most common in the 25 to 44-year-old age group, and men are twice as likely as women to die by suicide.

What are the major barriers to obtaining mental-health services?

  • Coloradans are blocked from getting treatment by cost, fears about social perceptions (i.e., stigma), and difficulty scheduling.
  • Income plays a large role in whether people can access care. Some 16% of Coloradans at the lowest end of the income scale said they did not get needed mental health care or substance use treatment compared with 6% of those in the highest income group.

How important are early intervention programs?

  • The social and emotional skills children develop in the early years support their lifelong emotional well-being and mental health, as well as their ability to succeed in school and form positive relationships.
  • Programs that support children’s social-emotional development lead to more self-supporting families and reduced public spending on remedial education, incarceration, public assistance, and health care.

Training Opportunities

Mental Health First Aid Classes in Jefferson County  

The Jefferson Center for Mental Health offers free classes. Adult Mental Health First Aid is an innovative, 8-hour course designed to give you the tools to recognize a range of mental health problems and the skills and confidence to help someone in a mental health crisis. The program offers a concrete action plan to help someone in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer and self-help care.

QPR and Other Suicide Prevention Training 

The Jefferson Center for Mental Health offers various training classes for suicide prevention. Most training classes are free of charge and cover topics such as stigma around suicide, risk factors for youth, GLBTQ and Latino/Hispanic communities, and are especially helpful for those that provide services to those communities. QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) is a 90 minute gatekeeper training that can be customized to fit your audience.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Colorado Educational Programs 

NAMI Colorado offers several educational programs designed to educate and support family members, friends and individuals affected by mental illness. They aim to develop skills to help people cope with the challenges of mental illness. Programs include Basics, Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, Ending the Silence, In Our Own Voice, and Homefront.

Organizations and Resources

Jefferson Center for Mental Health  

Mental Health America  

Mental Health Colorado  

School Mental Health Toolkit  

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 

NAMI Colorado 

NAMI Jeffco  

Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention  

Man Therapy Website  

Office of Suicide Prevention Annual Report, 2016-2017; Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment

The State of Mental Health in America, 2018; Mental Health America

Mental Health Glossary

Brain Wave

Statewide network of mental health advocates developed by Mental Health Colorado.


A curriculum that teaches children, youth, and at-risk adults essential emotional, social, and cognitive skills.

Colorado Crisis Services

Statewide mental-health crisis line that provides confidential and immediate support 24/7/365 by trained professionals. Toll-free 844-493-8255(TALK) or Text “TALK” to 38255. They also offer walk-in centers throughout Colorado.

Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS)

Information and data about health insurance coverage, access to health care and use of health care services in Colorado collected by the Colorado Health Institute. More than 10,000 households in the state have been interviewed every other year since 2009, allowing comparisons across time.

Communities That Care

Preventative system developed by the University of Washington to promote healthy youth development, improve youth outcomes, and reduce problem behaviors. It guides communities through a proven five-phase change process. The Jefferson County Communities That Care process is focused on the communities of Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, and Edgewater.

Co-responder Services Program

Pairs mental-health professionals alongside police when officers are responding to calls related to people in a mental health crisis. The Colorado Department of Human Services is providing support for this in many communities.

Healthy Kids Colorado Survey

A voluntary, confidential, and anonymous survey for middle and high school students conducted every other year to better understand youth health and what factors support youth to make healthy choices. It is supported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Colorado Department of Human Services. The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus administers the survey.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

Teaches the public to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It does not teach people to be therapists; rather it teaches a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care. Classes offered in Jefferson County are free (click here for a list).

Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS)

Prevention-based framework designed to build social-emotional learning into everyday school curriculum.


QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer, and is a type of suicide prevention training.

Safe2Tell Colorado

Students, parents, school staff, and concerned community members may make an anonymous report 24/7/365 by downloading the Safe2Tell Colorado mobile app (Apple Store or Google Play), completing a web report online at the website, or by calling 877-542-7233(SAFE). All reports and calls are answered by trained Colorado State Patrol Communication Center dispatchers and sent to a team of school officials and law enforcement for investigation and intervention.

School-based Health Centers (SBHCs)

Clinics located on school campuses that offer both physical and mental health services.

School Mental Health Toolkit

A resource developed by Mental Health Colorado to serve as a blueprint for school mental health services and to guide community members, schools, local leaders, and districts through 10 best practices, including strategies for implementing, funding, and sustaining mental health services in schools.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Process through which children acquire and apply the knowledge of attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. The acronym “SELS” refers to Social Emotional Learning Specialists.

Sources of Strength

A program in many Colorado middle and high schools to prevent student suicide by building a support system within the school using peer leaders and increasing youth-adult connectedness.

Stepping Up Initiative

A national initiative launched in 2015 by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation to mobilize local, state, and national leaders to achieve a measurable reduction in the number of people in jails who have mental illnesses. Jefferson County unanimously adopted a resolution to sign-on to the Call to Action on February 20, 2018.


Perceived shame surrounding mental health issues that is one of primary reasons why individuals and families do not seek services. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) lists nine ways to fight stigma including: (1) Talk openly about mental health, (2) Educate yourself and others, (3) Be conscious of language, (4) Encourage equality between physical and mental illness, (5) Show compassion for those with mental illness, (6) Choose empowerment over shame, (7) Be honest about treatment, (8) Let the media know when they’re being stigmatizing, and (9) Don’t harbor self-stigma.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The nation’s only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. SPRC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Trans Lifeline

National trans-led organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to critical needs with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Their hotline is at 877-565-8860, available 8 am-2 am MST.

Trevor Project

National organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under age 25. The TrevorLifeline 866-488-7386 is available 24/7/365, or text “TREVOR” to 202-304-1200.

Upstream Resources

Preventative resources that reduce risk factors and increase protective factors.

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)

A public education program that introduces adults to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.

Zero Suicide Approach—The Power of Zero

The national Zero Suicide model, developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, identifies seven components to preventing suicide in health care systems. The Zero Suicide Bill, which became Colorado law in 2016, is an effort to reduce the state’s suicide rate.


General Glossaries, Data, and Statistics

Colorado Health and Environmental Data

Data Dashboard—Mental Health Colorado 


Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States

Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health 

Mental Health Conditions 

National Institute of Mental Health Glossary 

National Institute of Mental Health Statistics 

National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices Glossary