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July 2021

 Rachel Hutson
 Children, Youth and Families Branch Director

 MCH Framework Refresh!

Summer greetings to MCH partners throughout the state! The first year of implementation of the 2021-2025 MCH priorities, has been a busy one. State staff are currently implementing year one action plans for each priority, as well as finalizing year two and three action plans that will start in October (and will be posted on The larger local public health agencies begin implementation of the new priorities with the upcoming contracts that start this fall and smaller agencies will make the transition with their new contracts the following year. 

To support ongoing communication and collaboration about the priorities, Risa Friedman, has been working hard over the past several months with our internal communications team, as well as with MCH state and local staff and the MCH Community Advisory Board to develop and update communication tools for the MCH program. As a result of those efforts, the MCH Framework has been refreshed to include icons for each priority, as well as to include the MCH measures and outcomes across the priorities. Huge thanks to Risa and all who helped craft the enhanced Framework! We will also soon be releasing data packages as an additional resource specific to each priority area. More to come!

 Andrew Erhart
 School Age Systems Specialist

 Understanding Children’s Mental Health in

In May, Children’s Hospital Colorado held a press conference to shed light on the Pediatric Mental Health Crisis in our state. While this may appear to be a result of increased suicide attempts and worsening children and youth mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is more complex. Children’s mental health has been a concern for public health officials for years, and despite increased visibility and attention on children and youth suicide attempts, there has not been a significant change in suicide rates compared to previous years.

What We Know
Nearly one in three children in Colorado (29.5%) report feeling so sad or hopeless for two weeks in a row that they stop doing their usual activities, a common symptom of depression. While this is already a staggering statistic, the numbers are even more concerning when you look at specific groups of young people. About 46 percent of lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) students say they seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, more than three times the rate of heterosexual students (13.8 percent). Two of five female students reported symptoms of depression. That’s more than twice the rate of male students (19.2 percent). Almost 15 percent of multiracial students reported attempting suicide. In comparison, white students were less than half as likely to attempt suicide at 6.9 percent. (For more information, see this report from Colorado Health Institute). These disparities reflect systems of discrimination, trauma, and bias that persist in our society and in our healthcare system. It is necessary to have support and programs that are culturally supportive and inclusive of all children’s needs and perspectives. Additionally, understanding how each child’s unique life experiences can represent risk or resilience to mental health challenges is one step towards addressing the mental health needs of all children in our state.

Understanding Suicide
It is important to recognize that suicide is always a complex issue that involves the interaction of many aspects of a person’s life. There is never a single reason why someone will attempt or die by suicide. For a young person, factors that could contribute to a suicidal crisis might include: stress, feeling socially isolated, lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns, exposure to bullying, mental health conditions, adverse childhood experiences and traumatic experiences, discrimination about one’s identity, periods of transition, and economic stressors. (For more information, see resources from the Office of Suicide Prevention).

Importantly, the majority of people who experience suicidal despair do not go on to attempt or die by suicide. The CDC estimates that for every death by suicide, there are about 30 non-fatal suicide attempts and about 230 individuals who experience suicidal ideation. One takeaway from this data is that the vast majority of people who feel suicidal do not attempt or die by suicide. This means that stories of people who find the supports and connections that work for them are the most common outcome, and a crucial part of our prevention work is to hear and elevate stories of people who have gotten through their suicidal despair so that we can strengthen these existing supports and identify gaps.

It is essential for suicide prevention to continue to mitigate the risk factors that could contribute to someone feeling suicidal and to bolster protective factors that reduce the likelihood of someone feeling suicidal or attempting to die by suicide. Continue reading about what we can do about pediatric mental health here.

WOOHOO!  This July marks the close of local planning for Wave 2 of our MCH Implementation Waves for the 2021-2025 MCH Priorities. Congratulations to our partner LPHAs who contract with Prevention Services Division (PSD) (Above $50,000) on completing your readiness tools, priority selection, logic models, action plans and budgets!  Check out priorities selected by PSD agencies. We look forward to starting implementation with you in October.
At the same time, we are excited to start planning for Wave 3 with our partner LPHAs whose MCH program is part of the master contract with our Office of Public Health Practice, Planning and Local Partnerships (OPHP) (Below $50,000).  We hosted a kickoff call in partnership with OPHP on July 16th and the presentation slides are linked here. We look forward to supporting you in your planning process!



  • The Colorado Health Foundation's Equity Collective Initiative
    Organizations led by people of color – who are deeply rooted in health equity and racial justice – have not historically been afforded the same access to resources to sustain their work and build power. The Foundation’s Equity Collective Initiative will put these resources in the hands of organizations – that are led by people of color – to advance health equity and build power in community through approaches they determine on their own. Applications due August 10th.


  • Racial Equity Analytics Lab
    The Urban Institute’s Racial Equity Analytics Lab (REAL) equips today’s change agents with data and analyses to advance social and economic policies that help remedy persistent structural racism.





The Title V Maternal and Child Health Program (MCH) works with statewide partners and local public health agency representatives to improve the health of Coloradans using population-based and infrastructure-building strategies. Our mission is to optimize the health and well-being of mothers and children by employing primary prevention and early intervention public health strategies.
Copyright © 2018 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment / Prevention Services Division, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment / Prevention Services Division  
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South · Denver, CO 80246 · USA 

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