Steinberg Institute

A push for mental health care at colleges: Depression and anxiety ‘really eat up our kids’

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2018

By Felicia Mello/CALmatters

When student leaders from 23 California State University campuses came together last fall to set priorities for the academic year, improving campus mental health services received more nominations than any other issue. It beat out even that perennial concern, tuition costs.

Cal State Student Association president Maggie White said she’s not surprised.

“We’re seeing wait times at counseling centers that are exceeding two or three weeks, people turned away after a few appointments because they’ve exceeded the maximum allotment, and students not feeling comfortable going to counselors because no one looks like them or reflects their experience,” White said.

As the stigma attached to mental health care fades, California students are increasingly clamoring for more on-campus services that can help them cope with anxiety, depression and the stresses of a contentious political climate and rising living expenses. Several bills pending in the California Legislature would set aside resources for mental health care at the state’s public colleges and universities.

Mental health advocates say on-campus care is especially important because people often first experience psychological problems during their young adult years.

“It’s so much the age when serious mental illness manifests itself, and here we have these institutions that could absolutely be identifying this early on,” said Deborah Anderluh, a spokesperson for the Steinberg Institute, which lobbies for more funding for mental health treatment.

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Senate passes bill to make CA first state with voluntary workplace mental health standards

Posted on Friday, April 27, 2018

Landmark legislation that would make California the first state in the nation to establish voluntary mental health standards for the workplace was approved on the Senate floor Thursday by unanimous vote and moves to the Assembly with strong bipartisan backing. SB 1113, authored by Senator Bill Monning, D-Carmel, marks a bold effort to combat the stigma that still shrouds mental health in our nation and ensure mental illness is addressed with the same respect and urgency as physical illness in the workplace.

For years, employers have seen the wisdom of providing their employees with gym memberships, exercise space and nutritional snacks, having been schooled in the clear cost benefits of supporting physical well-being. SB 1113 would bring that same level of attention to supporting employee mental health.

In any given year, one in four Californians endures a mental health crisis, and yet mental health remains an uncomfortable and often unaddressed issue in many workplace settings. Research tells us that lack of attention comes at great cost for both employers and employees: Mental health issues are the single most expensive category of health costs for many employers, across all industries and sizes. The loss of employee productivity due to depression alone is estimated to cost U.S. companies as much as $44 billion per year.

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Mental Health Bills On the Move in California

Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2018

Our public policy team is pressing forward with a package of sponsored bills that so far has garnered strong support from legislators on both sides of the aisle. It’s a bold agenda that advances some key themes: scaling up best practices for prevention and early intervention in mental illness; marshaling far more resources to combat the state’s crisis of homelessness; continuing the push toward a system of care in which mental health is treated with the same sweep and urgency as physical health; and growing our mental health workforce. Read on for a snapshot of our priorities for the 2018 session.

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“We will not cower.” Darrell Steinberg on immigration, mental health, busting stigma

Posted on Friday, March 16, 2018

Earlier this month, Steinberg Institute founder and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg sat down for a provocative interview with Thinking CAP, a podcast of the Center for American Progress. Given the timing, much of the interview centers on immigration and the Trump administration’s decision to sue California over its sanctuary state laws. But about 14 minutes in, the focus turns to mental health: the strides we’ve made in care and innovation and the barriers that remain. What will it take to reach the tipping point? He lays out a vision.

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RAND: CA’s Mental Health Services Act Benefits Tens of Thousands in L.A. County

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

California’s Mental Health Services Act has benefitted tens of thousands of Los Angeles County residents, funding services that fostered significant improvements in mental health and wellbeing, as well as measurable gains in housing, employment and living conditions, according to findings of a new RAND Corporation report.

The 53-page report, commissioned by Los Angeles County, is the first extensive, independent analysis of the county-level impacts of the Mental Health Services Act, or Proposition 63, a millionaire’s tax approved by California voters in 2004. The researchers conclude the county is reaching a highly vulnerable and diverse population, and that overall the people engaged in those programs experience significant improvements in their mental health and life circumstances.

“There have been several audits criticizing the MHSA, but we finally have some great news to share today,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who authored the groundbreaking legislation while serving in the State Assembly. “This report demonstrates to the public what we have known for many years:  tens of thousands of people are getting desperately needed help. The MHSA is affecting thousands of lives.”

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Mental Health Delivery: The Global Forefront

Posted on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It was a day to discuss “the possible.” On Feb. 28, Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, in partnership with the Steinberg Institute, hosted a remarkable briefing that featured global leaders at the forefront of innovation and transformation in mental health care delivery. These are people making a striking and measurable difference in varied aspects of care, including early prevention and intervention in youth mental health; neighborhood-centered crisis care; homeless services; community education; and eradication of stigma. Each has managed to scale up and standardize best practices across a broad population. The common threads? Bold vision; committed leadership; and clearly defined strategic objectives.

We believe there are lessons for California in understanding how these innovators have succeeded in shifting the tide. Access the link below to find the speakers’ visual presentations, a photo gallery and a video of the day’s discussions.

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Powerhouse forum takes on critical challenges in mental health workforce

Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Steinberg Institute partnered with Kaiser Permanente last month to host a high-powered forum exploring challenges facing California’s mental health workforce, and innovative strategies for rethinking and adapting our traditional models of care. Our speakers brought expertise from across the nation. The audience was composed of representatives for leading policymakers, hospital systems, health organizations, research institutes, mental health providers, government agencies and advocacy groups. And the day was devoted to solutions. Go to the full article to access the visual presentations, photo gallery and forum packet.

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Gavin Newsom: Getting serious about mental health

Posted on Monday, January 22, 2018

In a remarkable first, a leading candidate to be Governor of California has embraced mental health care as a top-tier priority. In this essay in Medium, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom lays out his platform for elevating the state’s approach to brain health.

“When it comes to healthcare in California,” he begins, “we for far too long have tolerated two different and unequal worlds. I don’t mean rural and urban. I don’t mean rich and poor. While both those dichotomies are true, I am talking about the fundamental differences in our approach to illness of the body and illness of the brain.”

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Maienschein: Improving Mental Health Services

Posted on Monday, November 27, 2017

The 2017 legislative session in California produced a critical step forward for mental health care that was embraced and supported on both sides of the aisle.

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California Working to Intervene Earlier – Before a Brain Illness Crisis

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017

What goes through your mind as you walk by someone living in a doorway or an alley? Is it sorrow? Fear? Or does the sight not always register, because homelessness seems a problem that’s too big to fix?

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