Vision 2030

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The Challenge

California faces a crisis. Substance use rates have skyrocketed. Tens of thousands of people struggling with addiction and mental illness are cycling through our city streets, hospital emergency rooms and jail cells.  At the same time, our behavioral health workforce is overwhelmed and understaffed, hospitals are overcrowded and our criminal justice system is dealing with a challenge it isn’t built for. 

California’s leaders have committed unprecedented investments and innovative approaches to these challenges. From the Behavioral Health Services Act to the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative, the focus on mental health and substance use challenges presents a historic opportunity. At the same time, we risk losing this moment, thanks to a lack of understanding of what’s working in California’s complicated care systems.

Close to two-thirds of adults with a mental illness and two-thirds of adolescents with major depressive episodes did not get treatment.
California Health Care Foundation

Our Plan

Vision 2030 is a new initiative to intervene in the mental health and substance use humanitarian crisis gripping California and get people the help they need. Vision 2030 will bring new research and data to the table to understand and address these challenges.

Vision 2030 is our plan to come armed with information, ready to rally resources where they are needed, and ultimately have care systems in this state that are rising to the challenge and helping people. We’ll challenge assumptions, ensure transparency and provide recommendations based on solid data to fix what’s broken and rapidly scale what’s working.

The Vision 2030 initiative has the following four goals

Modernize and strengthen California's behavioral health workforce to meet the diverse needs of the entire state.

California has the highest number of Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) areas in the nation, meaning a grave shortage of mental health service providers in many parts of the state. Additionally, our behavioral health workforce is not representative of the diversity of our great state. The Steinberg Institute’s new research in this focus area will dive deep into the root causes of these issues and recommend strategies to build and sustain a workforce that reflects and supports California’s diverse population.

Reduce the number of unhoused people with mental illness or substance use disorder by half.

An estimated 170,000 people are living unhoused in California, and as many as two-thirds may be living with symptoms of a significant mental health and/or substance use condition. The Steinberg Institute’s new research will center on understanding the mental health care  that is most successful with the state’s unhoused and spreading these care delivery solutions statewide.

Reduce the number of people entering hospital emergency departments due to behavioral health crises by half.

In 2021, more than 2 million Californians with a behavioral health diagnosis ended up in the emergency room. Hospitals are not conducive to resolving an acute mental health or substance use crisis. The Institute’s research will explore how to significantly reduce behavioral health hospitalization rates across the state, and get people care in a more appropriate community based setting.

Reduce the number of people with mental illness entering our criminal justice system by half.

More than a third of people who make up the California prison population live with a mental health and/or substance use condition, and many of those individuals become involved in the justice system because of a lack of access to adequate community mental health care. The Steinberg Institute’s new research in this focus area will examine the mental illness-to-prison pipeline and identify effective diversion strategies.

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