Colorado's First Lady made a stop on the Western Slope highlighting her commitment to education and mental health issues. On Wednesday she visited schools, mental health facilities and listened to some staggering statistics on suicide.
Mesa County has one of the highest suicide rates in Colorado. But there is good news, over the last three years the number of people commiting suicide has dropped by one to two people every year.
Organizations like the Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition and the Suicide Prevention Foundation are just two contributing factors of this steady decrease. But more funding is needed, and mental health advocates are hoping Jeannie Ritter will help.
Ritter admits she's not going to rush back to Denver with a policy for funding. Instead she wants to spend the better part of the year listening and learning about services and where they lack and succeed. Then she will start the conversation of where to find funding.
In the meantime, mental health advocates are hoping Senate Bill 36 can help those in need. The measure would expand the parody law in Colorado for insurance companies to include more mental illness diagnosis. Senate Bill 36 goes to appropriations Thursday.