The bill creates the behavioral health first aid training program (training program) in the office of suicide prevention (office) in the department of public health and environment. The purpose of the training program is to:
- Improve overall community climate and promote adult, teen, and youth behavioral health, mental health, and mental well-being;
- Train educators and school staff; employees of community-based, youth-based, or nonprofit organizations; employees of organizations that serve underserved populations; faith-based community members; law enforcement officers; first responders; and active duty or retired military personnel (candidates) to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use among adults, teens, and youth;
- Train candidates on how to respond to an adult, teen, or youth who is experiencing mental health or substance use challenges;
- Train candidates on crisis intervention strategies and best practices;
- Prepare candidates to teach adults and teens how to recognize warning signs and symptoms of mental health or substance use challenges;
- Prepare candidates to teach teens how to find a responsible and trusted adult for assistance when a peer is struggling with mental health or substance use challenges; and
- Prepare candidates to teach adults how to respond to a teen or youth struggling with a mental health or substance use challenge or crisis.
The office is required to contract with a Colorado-based nonprofit organization (third-party entity) to offer and administer the training program to organizations that apply to participate and are accepted in the training program that include, but are not limited to, school districts, district charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative services, the Colorado school for the deaf and the blind, community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, organizations that serve underserved communities, law enforcement agencies, first responder organizations, military forces, and faith-based organizations (organizations). Subject to available appropriations, the training program is available at no cost to the organizations selected to participate.
The bill requires the office to promulgate rules to establish criteria for an application process. The third-party entity shall create an application process based on the rules promulgated by the office.
The office shall use pre- and post-course surveys developed by a national mental and behavioral health organization to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program. The third-party entity shall administer the pre- and post-course surveys to collect evaluation data from the organizations.
The third-party entity shall submit a report to the office summarizing the evaluation data collected. The office is required to include a summary of the evaluation data collected and recommendations, if necessary, concerning the training program in the office's annual report submitted to the general assembly each November 1.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)