Governor Newsom’s revised budget continues to prioritize key investments in mental health and substance use disorders

Governor Gavin Newsom at podium

(Sacramento) 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.

Our behavioral health workforce shortage continues to need immediate attention, and any investments must be focused on providing immediate solutions to the challenge. Also, the state can take the lead on decriminalizing mental health through compassionate crisis response built on the foundation of the 988 crisis line.

Critical investments, combined with accountability can get us closer to ensuring that everyone needing care receives it. Leaders must continue to address key challenges in our system.  Beyond investments, accountability in our care systems is vital. We support Governor Newsom’s proposal to revitalize the Mental Health Services Act, with a focus on outcomes and accountability as a critical component.

As elements of the Governor’s budget revision are debated, we look forward to a continued partnership with the Administration to ensure that the needs of our state’s most vulnerable are addressed.

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