Youth mental health is a top priority for the Attorney General’s Office, particularly given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic, and the rise of social media use. The Colorado Department of Law continues to push for increased investment and statewide collaboration on behalf of Colorado youth.
We want to hear from you!
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office seeks to better understand how Colorado youth use social media and how it impacts their lives. As part of this work, our office has developed a five-minute survey to collect feedback from young adults, parents, and professionals working with youth including teachers, school administrators, and counselors.
Please click here to fill out our survey →
Funding opportunities for youth mental health programs
We recognize the importance of community efforts to address youth mental health and suicide prevention. Since 2018, the Department of Law has provided almost $1 million for Sources of Strength via a partnership with the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention. Sources of Strength aims to prevent suicide by increasing help-seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults.
Additionally, in April of 2021 we created the Healthy Youth/Strong Colorado Fund. This fund focuses on improving young Coloradans’ mental health and addressing behavioral health challenges through alternatives to the criminal justice system. The fund is a partnership with Rocky Mountain Health Plans and has allocated a total of $5 million to support youth programs throughout the state.
You can learn more about the amazing programs supporting youth mental health here.
Combating the harms of vaping on youth health
Colorado sued Juul Labs, Inc. in 2020 after an investigation by the Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Section disclosed that the company targeted young Coloradans with reckless and deceptive marketing tactics that encouraged vaping and resulted in harmful behavior that damaged the physical and mental health of our youth. Colorado will receive $31.7 million as part of a national settlement we helped secure with Juul.
With these settlement funds, we will be able to help Colorado teens, including supporting vaping cessation programs and prevention efforts that include mental health programs in Colorado.
Addressing the concerns of social media effects on mental health
In response to rising concerns about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Colorado’s youth, the Department of Law is co-leading an ongoing bipartisan nationwide investigation of Meta and TikTok for their impact on youth’s mental and physical wellbeing. We are collaborating with 51 attorneys general to examine whether these companies violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.
The Department of Law operates Safe2Tell Colorado, a successful violence intervention and prevention program for students to anonymously report threats to their own, and others’, safety. First created to help prevent school violence, Safe2Tell now supports youth to raise a broad range of concerns, including those related to mental health. In recent years, teen suicide is consistently the number one category of tip reported to the program. You can learn more about Safe2Tell here.
Much work remains to be done. Together, we are creating a road map for collaboration between parents, caregivers, and communities to support Colorado’s youth.