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



Sharing innovative best practices and policy approaches with leaders across the state of California.


We believe equitable access to care and recovery should be available for all Californians living with mental health and/or substance use disorders.


Vital information about California’s spending and outcomes must be collected, analyzed, made publicly available, and met with a focus on quality improvement and accountability.

Inspired leadership

Breaking down the barriers created by stigma and discrimination, we educate and inspire leadership on all issues related to mental health and substance use disorders.

latest news

Issue Spotlight

SACRAMENTO (November 15, 2023) – Today the Steinberg Institute announced a organizational expansion and commitment toward the goal of ending the mental health and substance use crisis in California. The Institute outlined the details of its ambitious new initiative, Vision 2030.

“Now is the time for us to double down on ending this crisis and put every resource we have into fighting for our state’s most vulnerable,” said Steinberg Institute CEO Karen Larsen. “Substance use rates have skyrocketed and tens of thousands of people struggling with addiction and mental illness find themselves cycling through our hospitals, jails and homelessness. Our workforce is overwhelmed, hospitals are overcrowded, and our criminal justice system is dealing with a challenge it isn’t built for.”

In the face of a massive budget deficit, California Governor Gavin Newsom presented his proposed budget today in Sacramento. Since taking office, the Governor has made unprecedented commitments to mental health and substance use programs. In today’s proposal, the Governor continued to prioritize behavioral health care.

Here are the Steinberg Institute’s initial takeaways on key areas impacting our mental health and substance use systems.

This year the Steinberg Institute was thrilled to support Governor Gavin Newsom’s Behavioral Health Modernization Proposal, which sought to reform the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). The MHSA, authored by Institute founder and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, placed a 1% tax on personal income over $1 million to fund mental health services in California.

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