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

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.
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.