Denver START

About the Denver START Program

The Denver START program at RMHS provides accessible and timely crisis mental health care for Denver children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) when it is needed most.

Children and adults with I/DD often experience misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed mental health or behavioral challenges. This lack of understanding can make it hard for individuals to get the care they need.

Teenager in his wheelchair holding his digital device while listening to headphones.

Timely mental health crisis prevention and intervention for children, youth, and adults with I/DD when it is needed most.

A young man with Down syndrome sitting at his dining room table using his mobile phone.

Denver START Provides:

  • Access to START-certified team members with unique experience in the mental health aspects of I/DD
  • 24/7 crisis prevention and intervention
  • Coordinated care and assistance for the individual, their family, and their service providers
  • Person and family-centered approach
  • Cultural humility and competency
  • Training and support to build community capacity to meet mental health needs for people with I/DD. 

Program Eligibility

The Denver START program is available to residents in the city and county of Denver who are ages 6 and older with both a documented I/DD and mental health challenges that result in either a mental health crisis or risk of crisis. 

Submit a Referral

To submit a referral to access the program, please complete our online form, or email us at

The National START Model

The START program, which stands for Systemic, Therapeutic, Assessment, Resources and Treatment, is new to Denver, but is a nationally recognized model with a rich history of success. Developed in 1988, the National START model aims to improve diagnosis and treatment, support effective services, create service linkages, promote health and wellness, and decrease the need for emergency services in regards to the mental health of individuals with I/DD.

In 2021, RMHS engaged in a competitive contract selection process with Denver Human Services (DHS), ultimately winning the contract to develop a local START program. Denver START is funded by local taxpayer dollars through DHS’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Equitable Access to Services (IDDEAS) program.

A somber woman sitting on a sofa hugging her knees.

Contact Denver START

For questions about the program or making a referral: 
Phone: 303-636-5600 (Option 8)