It’s time to realize the vision of the Mental Health Services Act

Statement from Steinberg Institute CEO Karen Larsen on Governor Gavin Newsom’s transformative mental health proposal

(Sacramento) On Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom outlined a proposed expansion of California’s behavioral health system, including more mental health housing and Mental Health Services Act reforms. The MHSA (passed in 2004 by California voters) was co-authored by mental health pioneer Rusty Selix, along with Steinberg Institute founder Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who joined the Governor for the announcement.

Steinberg Institute CEO Karen Larsen released the following statement:

The Mental health Services Act (MHSA) has been a groundbreaking approach to paying for and providing mental health care in California for almost 20 years. The Act has been a lifeline for millions of Californians with mental illness, inspired innovative treatment approaches, and provided vital prevention and early intervention services.

It’s time to take stock of opportunities to improve the MHSA. A lack of proper oversight and a broken patchwork of care systems have left far too many struggling without appropriate care and support. Instead of a path to recovery, people with serious mental illness often find themselves on the street, in our hospitals or jails.

We are proud to support Governor Newsom’s transformative plan to ensure our most vulnerable get the proper care they need.

The Steinberg Institute has been advocating for MHSA reforms for several years. Most recently, we sponsored Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman’s legislation (SB 970) to ensure more accountability and continuous quality improvement to MHSA programs.

From day one, the Governor has embraced bold leadership on mental health issues. We are committed to working with Governor Newsom, agency leaders, lawmakers and partners to seize this moment and realize the vision of the MHSA.


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