CHI Creates New Resource for Regional Behavioral Health Data

It seems as though behavioral health finds its way into almost every conversation I’m in these days.

Workforce talks turn to the growing demand for therapists and psychiatrists. Colorado’s State Innovation Model award is focused on behavioral health integration with primary care. And funders like The Denver Foundation are focusing on behavioral health as a priority area. Even lunchroom talks in the Colorado Health Institute kitchen have turned toward behavioral health as of late.

With this momentum in the state around behavioral health, CHI has decided to provide a snapshot of Colorado’s behavioral health both on the state level and for each of Colorado’s 21 health statistics regions. Our newest data workbook, Behavioral Health Data in Colorado, does just that.

The workbook is a compilation of the latest available data on behavioral health from six sources: the Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS), the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Vital Records, the Colorado Child Health Survey and the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey.

All of the data are available at the regional level. The data are broken down by adults, high school students and children. With all of the data in one place, users can use the workbook to compare their own region both to the state and to other regions.

Throughout the process of putting these data together, we reflected on some of the challenges in measuring behavioral health on the local level.  

First, we know that the stigma around talking about behavioral health is an inherent challenge in collecting these data. Respondents to surveys may not feel comfortable talking about their behavioral health at all or may hesitate to report struggles they may be facing.

As with any results reported on the local level, another challenge was the sample size. We know that in less populous regions of the state, the confidence intervals for the estimates can be rather large. To put the data into context, we noted estimates that are statistically different than the state estimate with an asterisk.

You can read more about measuring behavioral health and defining confidence intervals, along with details of the sources and methodology used for creating this workbook in this document.

Future data tables will focus on how behavioral health varies among different demographic groups in Colorado. The data will be state level for different income levels, racial and ethnic groups and gender.  

Please feel free to call or email us with any questions about the workbook – we welcome the conversation. 

Tamara is a Policy Analyst at CHI.