Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2018
Our government 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.
Among the initiatives we’re pushing is legislation that would make California the first state in the nation to establish voluntary workplace mental health standards for employers. One in four Californians experience a mental illness in any given year, and yet mental health remains an uncomfortable topic in the workplace. The result: Employees don’t always seek the care and support they need; and employers sustain substantial economic losses because of absenteeism and turnover.
For years, employers have seen the wisdom of providing their employees with gym memberships, exercise space and nutritional snacks, having been educated in the cost benefits of a healthy workforce. SB 1113 by Senator Bill Monning, D-Carmel, would bring the same level of attention to supporting employee mental health. Specifically, it would authorize the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to work with private and public employers, employee groups, consumers and mental health experts to create voluntary guidelines to combat stigma and normalize discussion of mental health in the workplace. We are grateful to Senator Monning and John Boyd, chair of the MHSOAC, for their leadership on this exciting new frontier.
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.”
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.
Posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018
State Sen. Richard Pan, in collaboration with the Steinberg Institute, will host a Capitol briefing for legislators and policymakers on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., to explore how changes in leadership, organizational structure and strategic vision could result in more effective delivery of mental health services in California.
The goal is to both educate and inspire by convening recognized leaders in the mental health community who are making a striking and measurable difference in outcomes. Among the speakers:
— Roberto Mezzina, Director of the Department of Mental Health in Trieste, Italy, who has pioneered a successful model for replacing mass institutionalization with integrated community-based care.
— Nicole Sherren, Scientific Director with the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, an effort based in Canada that translates research on brain development, addiction and mental illness into policies and practices that support healthy outcomes.
— Pat McGorry, Executive Director of Orygen, a leading research institute in Australia that has transformed that country’s approach to early intervention for youth mental health.
— Ann Sullivan, Commissioner, N.Y. State Office of Mental Health, who has advanced a statewide network dedicated to early intervention in psychosis-related illness.
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.”
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?