Colorado’s Behavioral Health Administration
With over 1 million people in Colorado in need of behavioral health services, we must strengthen our system — from prevention to recovery and beyond. The Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) represents one of Colorado’s many steps towards strategic investments in improving the behavioral health system. The BHA is a new cabinet member-led agency, housed within the Department of Human Services, designed to be the single entity responsible for driving coordination and collaboration across state agencies to address behavioral health needs. Because we believe all people in Colorado deserve to experience whole person health, we envision a world in which behavioral health services in Colorado are accessible, meaningful, and trusted. Therefore we have made it our mission to co-create a people-first behavioral health system that meets the needs of all people in Colorado.
We are grateful to those who have engaged in this effort to date and encourage all people in Colorado to join together on this journey toward building a behavioral health system that truly puts people first.
Dannette R. Smith appointed as BHA commissioner
Dannette R. Smith has been appointed by Gov. Jared Polis to be the new commissioner of the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA).
This appointment was informed by extensive stakeholder feedback across from the state and reflects the governor’s commitment to bringing transformational change to Colorado’s behavioral health system. Under Commissioner Smith’s leadership, BHA will remain focused on increasing access to quality behavioral health services in Colorado by engaging diverse community groups and providers to expand services and recruiting and retaining a talented workforce. Incoming Commissioner Smith will begin her role on March 18. At that time, Interim Commissioner Michelle Barnes will be returning to her role as executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Commissioner Smith has spent 30 years serving families, children, the aging population, and people experiencing homelessness. She’s led human services departments across the country, most recently serving nearly five years as the chief executive officer at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
For more about the BHA's new commissioner, read the press release from Gov. Polis.
Frequently asked questions
- Where can I find mental health and substance use support in my area?
Navigating mental health and substance use resources can be challenging. We can help. Click here to find programs and resources available including a tool to find mental health or substance use providers and programs across Colorado.
- What is the Behavioral Health Administration?
The Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) is a new cabinet member-led agency within the State of Colorado, housed within the Department of Human Services, and is designed to be the single entity responsible for driving coordination and collaboration across state agencies to address behavioral health needs. Learn more about the BHA on the About Us section.
The term “behavioral health” refers to an individual’s mental and emotional well-being, development and actions that affect their overall wellness. Behavioral health problems and disorders include mental and substance use disorders.
- What does the BHA do for Colorado
- Lead the coordination of behavioral health efforts across agencies by creating shared goals, improving collaboration, driving accountability and transparency for a person-centered, outcome-oriented behavioral health system for all people in Colorado.
- Provide an opportunity to streamline our overall system so that we are smarter about investing our dollars and more responsive to the needs of all people in Colorado.
- Elevate the needs of individuals and family members with lived behavioral health experience
- Improve transparency, cross-sector data, and stronger accountability of the system
- Address behavioral health disparities with equity central to the mission of the BHA
- Problem solve and implement solutions through collaboration and effective relationships
- Engage the entire behavioral health system, including the commercial system from prevention to recovery
- Enhance and focus on whole person care and improve the quality of care for complex populations
- Strive to be a diverse, inclusive and equitable entity in vision, strategy and operations
- General Assembly Report, 2022 Behavioral Health Plan
This report contains the Behavioral Health Administration’s (BHA’s) early conceptualization of what it means to be the lead steward of a people-first vision for whole-person health in Colorado. As you read the General Assembly Report, 2022 Behavioral Health Plan, we hope you can sense our excitement to prove ourselves trustworthy as the people’s agency; called for by the people of our state and working to bring the people’s vision to life. Because we believe that every person in our state deserves to experience whole-person health, we envision a world in which behavioral health services are accessible, meaningful, and trusted.
- How can I be involved
Access the latest info & resources: Bookmark this website and continue to check in for the latest behavioral health resources and information on the BHA’s efforts.
Share your thoughts: Submit your ideas, questions or concerns via the feedback form.
Stay informed: Subscribe to our BHA newsletter for updates on Colorado’s behavioral health reform efforts.
Behavioral Health Administration Advisory Council
People in Colorado with lived behavioral health experience are co-creating and informing the BHA’s vision and strategic plan through the Behavioral Health Administration Advisory Council (BHAAC). The BHAAC will ensure there is public accountability and transparency through reviewing the BHA's public-facing transparency activities. Learn more about this meaningful opportunity for community input and involvement in shaping Colorado’s behavioral health system.
BHA Community Events and Town Halls
The BHA believes all people in Colorado deserve to experience whole-person health, and we envision a world in which behavioral health services in Colorado are accessible, meaningful, and trusted. Therefore we have made it our mission to co-create a people-first behavioral health system that meets the needs of all people in Colorado.
The BHA invites the people and behavioral health providers of Colorado to monthly Town Hall gatherings and Provider Convenings beginning in January 2023.
Find more public events on the BHA Meeting and Events calendar.
The BHA Statewide Programs team is hosting discussions with providers to talk about:
- Information and updates relating to crisis services
- Behavioral Health Administrative Service Organizations (BHASOs)
- Care Coordination planning
- Opportunities for ongoing engagement and provider contributions
Upcoming dates and times
- Feb. 15 at 1 p.m.
- April 18 at 1 p.m.
BHA Town Halls
The BHA Leadership Team is hosting regular town halls to provide BHA-wide updates and information on how to get more involved. These meetings are open to anyone who is interested. Topics include:
- BHASOs and care coordination planning
- Rule revision update and next steps
- Legislative session highlights
Upcoming dates and times
BHA Strategic Plan
The 2023-25 Strategic Plan outlines the BHA's key priorities for the next three years. The plan explains the BHA’s creation, how the BHA works, priorities and key strategies, desired outcomes, and a visual roadmap representing how the BHA will achieve behavioral health care reform in Colorado.
In the next three years, the BHA desires a behavioral health system that is equitable and easy to access, meeting the needs of all people in Colorado. We strive to be an administration that represents our values of truth, equity, collaboration, community-informed practice, and generational impact.