who we are

The Steinberg Institute

We are an independent, nonprofit public policy institute dedicated to advancing sound public policy and inspiring leadership on issues of mental health and substance use. 

View of the California State Capitol Building
Darrell Steinberg speaking at an event


We Engage

Advocacy groups, thought leaders and private industry, academia, consumers and family members, and the Legislature in upending the status quo and making mental health policy a top-tier priority.

We Inspire

Leadership, collaboration, and innovative thinking that leads to bold action toward an integrated system of care.

We Advance

Consumer-centered solutions through sound public policy and a culture of change that ensures all people receive the care they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it.

latest news

Issue Spotlight

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s release of his revised 2023-24 budget, Steinberg Institute CEO Karen Larsen released this statement: 

We continue to be so grateful for the Governor’s prioritization of Californians living with mental health and substance use disorders.  It is inspiring to witness the remarkable transformations this Administration has proposed. Californians in mental health and substance use crisis will continue to need help, regardless if the state has a budget surplus or deficit. So we are grateful to see investments in these areas continuing despite the state’s financial headwinds.

The Steinberg Institute is pleased to announce the return of its annual Champions program, which honors individuals who have significantly contributed to improving the lives of those living with mental health and substance use issues in California. This year’s Champions will be announced each week in May in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Founded in 2018, the Champions program has recognized Californians who work in mental health policy, advocacy, and service. By highlighting their values and work, the program celebrates the good they are doing and positions them as leaders in the community.

The Steinberg Institute’s mission includes inspiring leadership in the mental health and substance use field. The Champions program accomplishes this by amplifying the stories of mental health advocates across California and inspiring others to become mental health advocates.

The Future of Mental Health

Our founder, Darrell Steinberg, gives a passionate speech in this TEDx talk about the injustice that those with mental illness frequently face when trying to receive treatment. Darrell has been fighting consistently to improve mental health policy in California since the late 1990s as a member of the state Assembly, as state Senate President pro Tem, and currently as mayor of Sacramento. Darrell was the co-author of the 2004 state initiative that imposed a 1 percent tax on incomes over $1 million, also called the California Mental Health Services Act, which has generated nearly $30 billion for mental health services since being enacted.

Start typing and press Enter to search

Skip to content