The issue of youth suicide is an important topic that has been raised by lawmakers this legislative session. Colorado schools seem to do an inadequate job of addressing bullying and suicide. The bills that were introduced this session were redundant and weak, and at least one had some pretty glaring optics when it comes to financial conflicts of interest.
Of particular note, a suicide prevention bill with bipartisan support failed in the senate. HB18 -1177, proposed to lower the age of consent for mental health treatment, without parental consent, to 12 years old. It would also have funded unspecified “nonprofits” to issue suicide prevention training to community leaders, such as coaches or scout leaders.
HB18-1177 was sponsored by Don Coram and Dafna Michaelson, who sponsored a similar bill last year and presumably will bring it back again next year, perhaps under yet a different disguise.
The bill received support from families who were brave enough to share their personal stories of tragedy, but there were just too many loose ends for senate to pass it. Senators pointed out that the bill simply replicated numerous existing services such as Safe2Tell and many others.
At the hearing, Don Coram was chided by the Chairwoman for his sarcastic outburst when the bill failed, suggesting that those opposed to the bill just wanted to save education money by having children die. His outburst was covered by Colorado Pols http://www.coloradopols.com/diary/107736/stay-classy-sen-don-coram-suicide-saves-money-edition#sthash.iiOP3tVu.dpbs
Let’s take a closer look at HB18-1177… is it really about suicide prevention or is that just the box sticker to create emotional appeal?
The language of HB18-1177 left a BIG BLACK BOX in between the identification of children requiring mental health therapy (but whose parents could not be trusted to be included in the loop), and the means by which a state designated mental health therapist would gain access to the child to deliver the counseling.
We were left wondering what something like this would look like…
A baseball coach is concerned about the mental status of a 12 year old kid on the team and decides to refer the child for counseling without informing the child’s parents.
How would this play out? Once convincing the child that they needed to see a shrink, would the coach arrange to pick them up around the corner where the parents couldn’t see? Hopefully not.
And we don’t mean to be glib about something as serious as a child needing help. But let’s be honest. This is an expansion of the burgeoning “School Based Health Care” (SBHC) industry in Coloardo. And yet nowhere in the language of HB18 – 1177 was there a single mention of SBHC. It is the only logical place that this type of service can be delivered to children, so why hide the fact?
Is there a financial conflict of interest?
Colorado’s SBHC is big business and it’s funded through grants from the CDPHE under the direction of Larry Wolk. Larry Wolk is the founder, and is on the staff at Rocky Mountain Youth Clinic – the state’s largest school based clinic. How can Larry Wolk be both the grantor and the (indirect) recipient of the grant without there being a conflict of interest?
Do parents know that school based health staff are able to enter classrooms to give instruction?
Do they know about Colorado’s LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraception) Program, which entitles minors to obtain IUDs and other forms of birth control at school, without parental consent? Do parents know that LARC products are being promoted, by manufacturer name, through loaded “questions” in school issued “health surveys” (such as the highly controversial, Healthy Kids Survey)?
Do parents understand that HB18-1177 would have granted the power for school based health staff and their partners to issue mental health treatment to children as young as 12 years old, at school, during school hours, without parental notification…ever?
School based health care may have originated to serve community needs, but it seems to be morphing into something else. Are parents just in the way? Will they just bill Medicaid?
Do parents know that Colorado’s SBHC industry has produced documents which advise staff on pushing back against community concerns such as this one? The CASBHC is an admitted partner of our state CDPHE. Why would they need something like this?
Do parents know that school based health staff are also issuing “depression screening” to students? We have to assume the staff means well, but without any oversight what is to stop this train from casting the net ever wider, maybe 25% of kids need mental health counseling, maybe 50%, maybe 90%….
The lack of parental oversight, combined with the allure of millions of federal Medicaid dollars might just prove too irresistible to some clinics.
Parents are shut out of the loop. They have no ability to check the credentials of the therapist or evaluate the therapeutic outcome – because they don’t even know about it. And, as you might imagine, given the liability that would be integral to issuing any kind of treatment to a child without benefit of their medical records or parental input, HB18-1177 was laden with disclaimers to protect therapists and others from any malpractice or responsibility of any kind.
Concerned Citizens comments on HB18-117:
Does Colorado SBHC falsify documents to justify a radical agenda?
In its Feb 2018 newsletter, the SBHC issued the following misinformation. An article titled “6 Things Parents Can Do to Create A Healthy Parent/Child Relatonship Around Gender” was falsely credited to the CDC. In fact this highly controversial document was not produced by the CDC, it was produced by the national affilitate, the School Based Health Alliance,
The article, which gives advise to parents for encouraging children to explore whether their biological gender is a good fit, can be found here sbh4all gender fluidity doc
The CDC responded to our group with a letter confirming the document was not produced by the CDC and expressing their concern over the “unauthorized use of CDC branding”. To be clear, the CDC has never published this kind of advice for parents. Encouraging children to question their biological gender is radical advice put out by the Gender Spectrum organization and School Based Health organizations. For more information regarding the growing controversy over the institutionalized push to confuse children about gender, check out 4th Wave Now https://4thwavenow.com/ and Transgender Trend https://www.transgendertrend.com/ .
The so called “gender spectrum” theory is a dangerous pop culture myth targeting children for medical experimentation with pharmaceutical and surgical interference with normal biological development of the child. It is truly outrageous that Colorado’s SBHC industry should issue radical information under the misrepresentation that such material is endorsed by the CDC, thus eliminating and basically censoring any discussion or dissenting opinion, of which there is plenty.
Here is an excerpt of the response from the CDC in which it is clear that they did not issue the above document and have contacted school based health officials to reign them in.
In light of the recent bill, HB18-1177, which is sorely lacking in transparency when it comes to delivery of school based mental health care, there are some very serious questions to be asked about the direction of SBHC in Coloardo.
What are their goals?
And why in the world would Colorado SBHC feel the need to falsify documents in an apparent attempt to leverage increased credibility? And how does this lack of transparency feed into its plans for expansion?
If they have misled the public about their connection to the CDC, what else are they misleading the public about?
Bottom line: Youth suicide is a terrible concern for Colorado and it should not be exploited for profit or special interest.