Steinberg Institute

About Us

There are three indisputable facts about mental health in California.

First, everyone knows someone who suffers from mental illness, though it is rarely discussed.

Second, mental health affects virtually every major budget and policy issue addressed by government: criminal justice, housing and homelessness, the plight of veterans, children and education, and more.

Third, with rare exception, few governors, legislators, or other elected officials choose to prioritize or work substantially on mental health issues. What’s more, California mental health advocacy organizations have collectively struggled to develop and articulate a comprehensive legislative agenda to elevate mental health as a state priority.

The numbers say it all.

  • Mental illness is the most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms.
  • Forty percent of permanent disabilities are a result of mental illness.
  • One third of the homeless are diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • Thirty percent of the inmates in our correctional system live with mental illness

All these facts are exacerbated by those with coexisting substance use disorders. But the impact on the lives of the sufferers and their families can’t be quantified.

For the first time, a statewide organization has been created to change the status quo and dramatically raise the profile and increase the effectiveness of mental health policy-making.

Founded by Sacramento Mayor and former State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the Steinberg Institute is dedicated to advancing sound public policy and inspiring leadership on issues of mental health. The institute supports and encourages legislative champions; helps resolve disputes among mental health stakeholders; engages business leaders and other non-traditional stakeholders; evaluates the impact of investments; and promotes a tangible vision to advance mental health services and support. To help heal the minds of millions of Californians, we first have to change the mindset in Sacramento. Please join us!

A Project of the Tides Center