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 (August 3, 2023) – A new report, Honoring the Vision of the MHSA through Transformation, released today by the Steinberg Institute concludes that Governor Gavin Newsom’s Behavioral Health Modernization proposal makes urgent and necessary changes to align funding priorities with the original intent of the 2004 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). 

The report also addresses recent assertions that the Governor’s proposal will inhibit spending on prevention and early intervention services and weaken behavioral health oversight. After reviewing the history of the MHSA and analyzing the various behavioral health funding streams available, it assesses these claims as unfounded.

The CEO Alliance for Mental Health (CEO Alliance), a group of the leading organizations in the United States dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental health and substance use conditions, applauds President Biden for continuing to prioritize mental health and substance use parity with today’s release of proposed rules to improve health plan compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).

MHPAEA requires that health plans provide mental health and substance use coverage at parity with medical/surgical coverage. The legislation was authored by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, the founder of The Kennedy Forum (a CEO Alliance member organization), and championed by many members of the CEO Alliance. Unfortunately, 15 years after its enactment, the promise of MHPAEA has not been fully realized, and far too many individuals still do not receive the appropriate level of care for their conditions.

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.

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