Behavioral Health Modernization

Governor Newsom joined Legislative and local leaders, families, advocates, veterans, and healthcare professionals in Los Angeles County to sign SB 326 (Eggman) and AB 531 (Irwin), legislation to modernize California’s mental health and substance use disorder treatment systems for the first time in decades. You may view the Governor’s full press release here, and SYASL staff notes here

CSAP’s Dr. Rod Shaner was quoted in the LA Times article, California is reinventing how it deals with mental illness. Now the locals have to make it work. You may read an excerpt below.

“The ballot measure going before voters in March represents a significant shift in how mental illness is paid for and treated in the state and poses a serious challenge to the status quo, said Rod Shaner, former medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.

“This could invite struggles with powerfully entrenched elements of the community mental health system,” Shaner said.

In reallocating funds in the Mental Health Services Act, Proposition 1 threatens funding for existing outpatient mental health services.

The change was probably inevitable, Shaner argues. The current system of community care, dating back to the Mental Health Act of 1963, had lost much of its credibility. “With stresses on society — homelessness, visibility of severe mental illness — it has become apparent that no matter how much money we were putting in community mental health treatment it has not been effective for treatment of everyone with severe mental illness,” he said.” You may view SYASL staff notes from the press conference here, as well as “Newsom looks to the March ballot” from Politico here

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