An examination of Colorado’s mental health care system after the Aurora theater shooting. The state passed a $25 million initiative to restructure its crisis system for mentally ill patients, but still has a lot of work to do:

Colorado has underfunded mental health care for decades. Exactly how much is uncertain because there are at least 34 separate mental health line items in the state budget. “At the state Legislature, we cut provider rates for Medicaid and for drug and alcohol [programs] in 2002, when we had the downturn,” says Moe Keller, who spent 16 years in the state Legislature and is now the vice president of public policy and strategic initiatives at Mental Health America of Colorado , the local outpost of a national group that advocates for mental wellness reform. “We cut beds, and we closed a couple of units around the state. We never really re-funded that when the economy came back.” Then in 2008, the state again cut Medicaid providers and closed more units along with consolidating and reducing services. “Today, the prison system is by default the largest behavioral health center,” Keller says. “Police are the first responders.”