On Edge: Investigation

An investigative look into Colorado's mental health safety net

About the Project

▪︎ The regional “community mental health centers” that serve as the core of Colorado’s safety net system are failing many Coloradans and operating with very little state oversight, a COLab investigation has found. Working with partner journalists across the state, COLab’s Susan Greene found the state has been giving the 17 private, nonprofit centers non-compete contracts and a privileged rate status for half a century.

Some of COLab’s media partners are investigating their local mental health centers, using data gathered by Greene. Together, their work is raising questions and starting community conversations about whether Colorado’s mental health safety net is working.

▪︎ Veteran mental health reporter Jennifer Brown of the Colorado Sun looks at how an unprecedented shortage of behavioral health professionals has affected Colorado’s safety net system.

▪︎ COLab’s Greene takes a close look at the controversial West Slope mental health care provider, Mind Springs Health, and efforts by some communities to, for the first time in the system’s 50-year history, break free from their community mental health center and create their own.

This project is supported in part by the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Reporting and a grant honoring the memory of the late Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal. Our intent is to foster conversation about mental health in a state where stigma and a lack of access run high. To learn more about COLab, visit colabnews.co.



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Related Opportunities

This project was made possible through unprecedented collaboration between dozens of newsrooms and journalists across the state, who are active partners in the Colorado News Collaborative, or COLab.

To support the statewide effort, donate to the Colorado News Collaborative.