Involuntary Mental Health Treatment


Colorado's system of care and involuntary treatment for mental health is established in Colorado statute (Title 27, Article 65, C.R.S., commonly referred to as "27-65"), and further defined in Behavioral Health Rule Volume 2 CCR 502-1). This resource offers guidance on navigating the laws and rules on mental health care and involuntary treatment in our state. If you or a loved one is in need of immediate help for a behavioral health crisis, contact Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255.

In Colorado, individuals may access mental health care and involuntary treatment in multiple ways, but all mental health care and treatment services must:

  • Maintain a person's dignity and integrity,
  • Be provided in a restrictive setting only when less restrictive setting are unavailable and when safety is endangered,
  • Protect people's privacy, dignity, and other rights,
  • Encourage the use of voluntary services,
  • Inform and encourage family involvement when appropriate, and,
  • Facilitate the recovery and resiliency of each person.

Laws, Rules and Guidance on Mental Health Care and Involuntary Treatment in Colorado

This section provides a breakdown of C.R.S. 27-65 and rule as well as the 27-65 Procedure Manual to assist in locating relevant sections of statute and regulation.

27-65 Statutes

Access C.R.S. 27-65 Statutes

27-65 Statute Breakdown
C.R.S. 27-65-101 Legislative Declaration
C.R.S. 27-65-102 Definitions
C.R.S. 27-65-103 Voluntary Applications for Mental Health Services
C.R.S. 27-65-104 Voluntary Application for Mental Health Services - Treatment of Minors
C.R.S. 27-65-105 Rights of Respondents
C.R.S. 27-65-106 Emergency Mental Health Hold – Screening - Court-ordered Evaluation - Discharge Instructions - Respondent’s Rights
C.R.S. 27-65-107 Emergency Transportation- Application - Screening- Respondent’s Rights
C.R.S. 27-65-108 Emergency Transportation- Application - Screening- Respondent’s Rights
C.R.S. 27-65-109 Certification for Short-term Treatment - Procedure
C.R.S. 27-65-110 Long-term Care and Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders - Procedure
C.R.S. 27-65-111 Certification on an Outpatient Basis – Short-term and Long-term Care [effective 07/01/2024]
C.R.S. 27-65-112* Termination of Short-term and Long-term Treatment – Escape [effective until 07/01/2024]
C.R.S. 27-65-112* Termination of Certification for Short-term and Long-term Treatment [effective 07/01/2024]
C.R.S. 27-65-113 Hearing Procedures – Jurisdiction
C.R.S. 27-65-114 Appeals
C.R.S. 27-65-115 Habeas Corpus
C.R.S. 27-65-116 Restoration of Rights
C.R.S. 27-65-117 Discrimination – Definition
C.R.S. 27-65-118 Right to Treatment - Rules
C.R.S. 27-65-119* Rights of Persons Receiving Care or Treatment [effective until 01/01/2024]
C.R.S. 27-65-119* Rights of Respondents Certified for Short-term or Long-term Care and Treatment 
[effective 01/01/2024]
C.R.S. 27-65-120 Administration or Monitoring of Medications to Persons Receiving Treatment
C.R.S. 27-65-121 Employment of Persons in a Facility – Rules
C.R.S. 27-65-122 Voting in Public Elections
C.R.S. 27-65-123 Records
C.R.S. 27-65-124 Request for Release of Information – Procedures – Review of a Decision Concerning Release of Information
C.R.S. 27-65-125 Treatment in Federal Facilities
C.R.S. 27-65-126 Transfers of Persons into and out of Colorado – Reciprocal Agreements
C.R.S. 27-65-127 Impositions of Legal Disability – Deprivation of Legal Right – Restoration
C.R.S. 27-65-128 Administration – Rules
C.R.S. 27-65-129 Payment for Counsel
C.R.S. 27-65-130 Advisory Board – Created – Service Standards and Rules
C.R.S. 27-65-131 Data Report
27-65 Rules

Explanation of 27-65 Rules (for designated facilities)

The Behavioral Health Rule Volume 2 CCR 502-1 provides detailed regulatory requirements for mental health services provided on a voluntary basis and an involuntary basis for those providers that are designated by the Behavioral Health Administration. While Title 27, Article 65, C.R.S. provides for the establishment of mental health service provision for any person seeking services on a voluntary basis and establishes provisions for the administration for mental health service provision on an involuntary basis, the BHA rules are only written and enforced with regard to designated facilities. A designated facility is a facility approved by BHA pursuant to the provisions of the Care and Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Disorders. BHA is charged with ensuring that the procedures set forth in both statute and regulation are carried out in a manner that is in accordance with the law, and that all persons treated under this law in relation to a designation are afforded the rights given them by law. If those rights are restricted, all laws and procedures are followed in order to uphold the civil rights of those individuals.

Access Office of Behavioral Health Rule Volume 2 CCR 502-1


Section 21.2180 Breakdown
21.280.1 Definitions
21.280.2 Facility Organizational Provisions
21.280.3 Medical and Medication Treatment Provisions
21.280.4 Seclusion and Restraint Provisions
21.280.5 Therapy or Treatment Using Special Procedures
21.280.6 Continuity of Care
21.280.7 Transfer of Care and Transportation
21.280.8 Certification for Treatment of an Outpatient Basis
21.280.9 Documentation in Individual Records
Behavioral Health Administration Responsibilities

The Behavioral Health Administration is responsible for:

  • Creating rules that govern mental health services in Colorado, including voluntary and involuntary services,
  • Designating facilities to provide mental health care and treatment,
  • Monitor providers to ensure mental health care and treatment is provided in compliance with state laws and rules,
  • Collecting and evaluating data regarding mental health care and treatment service delivery,
  • Providing training and technical assistance on the statutes and rules governing mental health care and treatment, including voluntary and involuntary process.
Colorado Revised Statutes Part 101 of Article 65 of Title 27

Additional Resources

Certification Termination Reporting

Effective August 2022, facilities designated for involuntary care and treatment of individuals are required to notify the BHA whenever an individual is terminated from a short-term or long-term certification per 27-65-109 and 27-65-110C.R.S.

Please submit one (1) form for each individual whose certification has been terminated. This form submission is secure and meets HIPAA confidentiality requirements.