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Finding treatment

There are several ways to find a mental health or substance use treatment counselor:

  • Ask a friend or family member for a referral
  • Contact your health insurance company and ask for a list of providers that are in-network
  • Search through the Colorado Treatment Directory for a licensed facility providing mental health and substance use treatment services
  • Call the Colorado Crisis Services hotline at 1-844-493-8255 and explain that you are looking for a referral
  • Text “TALK” to 38255 to get connected with a trained counselor

What is a "provider"?

Most insurance companies refer to mental health and substance use counselors as “behavioral health providers". In this section, “provider” refers to any entity that offers either mental health or substance use care.

Unfortunately, mental health care can be expensive. If you have insurance, you can significantly reduce the cost of treatment by seeing a provider who is contracting with your insurance company. Providers who work with your insurance company are called “in-network”, providers who are not are called “out-of-network”.

How to find a provider using your private insurance

Your insurance company will have different options for you depending on the type of health insurance plan you have. When you first enroll in health insurance, they send you materials explaining your insurance plan and covered benefits, either in the mail or by email. If your insurance company covers mental health and you plan to use your insurance to get treatment, you should start by understanding your benefits package.

You can also call your insurance company’s member services number to ask about your options for treatment; check the back of your insurance card to find this number. There may be a number specific to mental health and substance use services. It may be helpful to call members services to have someone go over your benefits and explain them to you.

To understand your benefits package, you will want to find out a few specific things:

  • Whether you need a referral from a primary care physician to see a mental health professional. Your insurance company may categorize mental health or substance use services as a specialization and as a result require a referral from your primary care physician for these services. They may refuse to cover treatment if you don’t get a referral first, so make sure to have this clarified.
  • The number of therapy sessions that are covered per year under your plan; or the days of treatment per calendar year that is covered.
  • A list of in-network providers. If you have difficulty finding this, call members services and request that they send you this list. Some plans have options for getting treatment out-of-network, others restrict you to only in-network providers (HMO plans for example do not offer out-of-network benefits)

Many insurance plans in Colorado are required to give you an appointment for a routine request within seven calendar days. For more serious concerns, they are required to provide you with an appointment in less than seven days. Insurance companies are also required to maintain updated in-network provider lists. If you believe the in-network provider list is not updated, you may want to explore whether the insurance company is non-compliant with parity laws.

"My recovery journey has been one of community, support and active lifestyle. When the journey began I had no idea where to go; today I have built a life for myself (with the help of my community) that I am excited about living." - Andrew

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How to find a provider through Health First Colorado (Medicaid)

Health First Colorado’s mental health and substance use services are coordinated by regional organizations, called Regional Accountable Entities (RAEs). The regional organization that manages your treatment will depend on where in the state you live.

When you enrolled in in Health First Colorado, you will have received a member handbook. To begin getting services through Health First Colorado, you should explore the instructions and benefits listed in your member handbook. Health First Colorado members are entitled to a routine appointment within seven days, and less than seven days for more serious concerns.

If you are having difficulty getting treatment, you believe you have been treated unfairly or want to learn more about your rights with Health First Colorado, you can reach out to the Medicaid Ombudsman.

Explore the map below to find which regional organization manages mental health or substance use services in your area of the state. You can also search for your regional organization through the Health First Colorado Website.

Find your behavioral health provider based on location

Colorado Access
Health First provider in the following counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, and Elbert.

Colorado Community Health Alliance
Health First provider in the following counties: Broomfield, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Gilpin, Jefferson, Park and Teller.

Health Colorado, Inc.
Health First provider in the following counties: Lake, Chaffee, Saguache, Mineral, Rio Grande, Conejos, Alamosa, Costilla, Huerfano, Custer, Fremont, Pueblo, Las Animas, Otero, Crowley, Kiowa, Bent, Prowers and Baca.

Northeast Health Partners
Health First provider in the following counties: Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Lincoln, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma.

Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Health First provider in the following counties: Archuleta, Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Garfield, Grand, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Jackson, La Plata, Larimer, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, Routt, San Juan, San Miguel and Summit.

Finding a provider if you do not have health insurance

You may not have access to affordable health insurance, or your health insurance my not cover mental health or substance use treatment. There are still options for you that may make getting treatment affordable:

Community Mental Health Centers across the state offer low-cost services. Search for either mental health or substance use treatment on a sliding fee scale through LADDERS, the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health’s online treatment directory. You can filter results based on the type of treatment you are looking for and whether they accept payment on a sliding fee scale.

Spark the Change Colorado connects mental health providers with individuals in need of free mental health services. Learn more on their website or call their number to see if you qualify: 1-844-380-6355.

Colorado has supports available for children who have a mental health diagnosis, are not eligible for Medicaid and have no other insurance. Explore the Children and Youth Mental Health Treatment Act to learn more about eligibility requirements.


In some cases, these providers will accept insurance, and others may require that you pay for services. It is your right to know what the services will cost and how you will be expected to pay for treatment.

Other resources to locate treatment and recovery support services

Psychology Today
Search for a counselor based on location, insurance, issue, types of treatment, and other filters.

Signal Behavioral Health Network
Signal manages and monitors substance use treatment in Denver-metro, northeastern, and southeastern Colorado.

Learn about opioid overdose response and find a provider who can support with recovery.

Community Recovery Locations
Map showing recovery services in the Metro Denver region.

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