Colorado is in a mental health crisis. Psychologists want to help by being allowed to prescribe medication. | SummitDaily.com
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Colorado is in a mental health crisis. Psychologists want to help by being allowed to prescribe medication.

Medical doctors and psychiatrists say it’s dangerous to let non-medically trained psychologists prescribe mental health medications.

Colorado, in the middle of a mental health crisis for all ages, has about 3,200 psychologists statewide who provide addiction counseling and talk therapy. What they can’t do is prescribe medications. 

When a psychologist thinks one of their patients needs an antidepressant, anxiety medication or an antipsychotic drug, they must refer them to a psychiatrist or other medical doctor. It’s a process that can take months, particularly when trying to find a psychiatrist with an opening, and requires the patient to explain their mental health struggles all over again.

But what if Colorado, like five other states, allowed psychologists to prescribe mental health medications? That’s the goal of legislation introduced at the state Capitol this week, brought forward by a task force of 80 psychologists that formed two years ago.



Psychologists and other supporters of the proposal, including the powerhouse health policy advocate Healthier Colorado, say it’s a step toward increasing access to care in a time when Colorado is desperate for mental health professionals. 

But others — specifically medical doctors and psychiatrists — caution that the idea is dangerous. Only people with a medical degree, and with an in-depth knowledge of the side effects of beginning or stopping potent medications, should prescribe them, they say. 



Read the full story on ColoradoSun.com.


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