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Archived In the news articles from MHSOAC Homepage

Senate, Assembly Pass Key Mental Health Bills

Steinberg Institute's inaugural year of leadership efforts
yielding results for veterans, foster kids, families & public safety

This week the Senate and Assembly passed legislation off their floors that represent significant advances in mental health policy for veterans, foster kids and families. The bills are part of the Steinberg Institute's 2015 legislative agenda.

The Steinberg Institute was founded last year to advance behavioral health policy and leadership. As part of that mission the Institute has both sponsored and supported bills this year to dramatically increase the prioritization of mental health policy in the California legislature.

Measures passed this week include:

SB 11 - Sen. Jim Beall - Passed Senate 38-0
SB 11 will provide additional training for law enforcement officers to help them recognize, deescalate, and refer persons with mental illness or intellectual disability who are in crisis. The bill helps protect law enforcement officers as well as the rights and safety of those they encounter.

SB 614 - Sen. Mark Leno - Passed Senate 40-0
In an effort to qualify for federal matching funds for peer and family support services, SB 614 creates a peer and family support specialist certification program. The bill also designates peer support specialists as providers under the Medicaid program within Medi-Cal.

AB 253 - Asm. Roger Hernandez - Passed Assembly 74-0
AB 253 makes a critical link between the Veterans Housing Bond (Prop. 41) and the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63) by prioritizing new housing applications under Prop. 41 that include long term commitments to mental health services funded by Prop. 63. AB 253 also strengthens veterans representation on the Mental Health Services Act Oversight Commission.

AB 1299 - Asm. Sebastian Ridley-Thomas - Passed Assembly 79-0
A simple but incredibly vital bill for foster children and their families, AB 1299 ensures that the mental health services foster children are entitled to remain in place if they are placed outside their home county and transfers accountability to provide those services to the new county.

For the complete Steinberg Institute legislative agenda, visit

Commissioners in the News

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has awarded Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commissioner Dr. Ralph Nelson and his wife Denise with the Don & Peggy Richardson Memorial Award.  The award is given for distinguished service to persons challenged by serious mental illness.  In addition to his work as a MHSOAC Commissioner, Dr. Nelson also serves as Chair of the Client and Family Leadership Committee for the MHSOAC.  He has served on the NAMI Tulare County Board of Directors for several years and is currently the Treasurer of NAMI.   Dr. Nelson is a retired radiologist.

Article by Commissioner Bill Brown is featured in the Santa Barbara News-Press.  Read “Programs bring results for homeless”.  Reprinted with permission from the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Archived Opinion Editorials

Mental Health News Articles

A Choice To Heal -Full-Length Documentary - 10/30/14

A Choice To Heal - Fresno Functional Family In-Home Therapy - 10/01/2014


A Choice To Heal - Sacramento County / UC Davis partnership for PEI with SacEDAPT - 10/01/2014


A Choice To Heal - Culturally Appropriate Services - 10/01/2014


A Choice To Heal - San Francisco's Larkin Street Youth Services offers diverse youth housing and treatment - 10/01/2014


A Choice To Heal - Peer support shores up Afghan residents in Fremont, CA - 10/01/2014


A Choice To Heal - American Indian communities heal together. Fresno reaches out through talking circles - 10/01/2014


Santa Barbara Review: Mental Health - Into the Vortex - 09/10/2014

Press Release: Study Shows Prop 63 Mental Health Prevention And Early Intervention Programs Are Working - 08/08/2014

Bloomberg: Final Funding Approved for Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier - 07/24/2014

LA Times: "Steinberg Keeps Winning" - 07/09/2014


San Francisco Examiner: Golden Gate Bridge Barrier Approved Today By Bridge Authority - 06/27/2014

Press Release: Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Now Possible Thanks to Proposition 63 Funding - 06/26/2014

Image of Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Senator Mark Leno with group of people at Golden Gate Bridge

Senator Mark Leno and Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg speaking at the Golden Gate BridgeMHSOAC Commissioner David Pating, M.D. speaking at Golden Gate Bridge

Press Release: Planned Psychiatry Residency Training Program Receives Accreditation - 04/24/2014

Mental Illness Affects Everyone



Prop 63 insert in Sacramento News & Review -- "Mental Illness: It Affects Everyone" - 01/03/13

Five people tell their stories of how Proposition 63 programs have changed their lives. Plus, lists of resources for El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, Nevada, and Sacramento counties.





Sacramento News and Review Cover

Prop 63 Insert in Sacramento News & Review -- "Hope on the Horizon" - 11/22/2013

Six people share their experience with mental illness and their road to recovery.


Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant Program

Press Release: Steinberg Announces Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant Program - 12/19/2013


Bullying: From Insults to Injury

Bullying: From Insults to Injury San Francisco Medical Journal
Authors: MHSOAC Commission Vice Chair David Pating and MHSOAC Consulting Psychologist Deborah Lee
- 05/08/13

Senate Prop tem Darrell Steinberg speaks at 2013 California Mental Health & Substance Use Policy Forum

Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg speaks at the 2013 California Mental Health & Substance Use Policy Forum sponsored by California Institute for Mental Health (CiMH) - 02/19/13

Californians say Mental Health Care and Emergency Preparedness Are Best Ways to Pevent School Violence

The California Endowment Report -- "Survey: Californians Say Mental Health Care and Emergency Preparedness Are Best Ways to Prevent School Violence" - 01/31/13

According to this survey of 1,200 California voters, when asked whether hiring a school counselor or a police officer would be more effective at preventing violence, voters chose counselors by a margin of more than two to one (67% to 26%).

Senate Pro Tem Steinberg Addresses Prison Overcrowding and Mental Health

Senate Pro Tem Steinberg Letter Addressing Prison Overcrowding and Mental Health

Senate Pro Tem Steinberg Unveils Crisis Mental Health Plan To Ease Overcrowding

Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg Unveils Crisis Mental Health Plan to Ease Overcrowding in Prisons, Jails and Hospital ERs - Video available here

Opinion Editorial by Dr. Oscar Wright, CEO of United Advocates for Children and Families

United Advocates for Children and Families: Let's Talk Mental Health Prop. 63 Debate: Culture Counts by Dr. Oscar Wright
Read an opinion editorial provided by Dr. Oscar Wright, CEO of United Advocates for Children and Families (UACF).

Senator Steinberg Speaks with Sacramento News & Review

State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg speaks with Sacramento News & Review about the future of mental health services in California. Read the article published in Sacramento News & Review, "The past, present and future of California's mental-health system"

Senator Steinberg's Investment in Mental Health

Senator Steinberg’s Investment in Mental Health Wellness proposal ($206.2 million) will be heard in the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee on Friday, May 24th (this Friday) starting at 9:30 AM, or upon adjournment of Senate Session.

Stanislaus County Promotes Mental Health

On April 25, 2012, The Modesto Bee printed an article entitled “County Promotes Mental Health.”
“A countywide campaign is being launched to help make people of all ages, income levels and ethnic groups more aware of mental health risks and the many services and strategies available to help people stay or become mentally healthy.”
Read the full article at:

UCLA Evaluation Finds Prop 63 Mental Health Program Associated With Reductions in Homelessness, Hospitalizations, Arrests and Incarcerations

On May 26, 2011, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) presented findings on the first evaluation of statewide impacts regarding the positive outcomes associated with participation in Proposition 63 Community Services and Supports (CSS) programs to the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC).  The report shows that participation in CSS programs is strongly associated with substantial reductions in homelessness and acute psychiatric hospitalizations.  The UCLA findings also show participation in CSS programs is associated with reductions in arrests and incarcerations for most age groups.  The UCLA report can be found here.


A Different Story on Mental Health (Community Voices)

What would make 150 people wearing “Stigma Stops With Me” t-shirts walk around a sprawling park early Saturday morning?  Mental health.

Jenee Darden in Oakland Local - October 18, 2011

Capitol Weekly Prints Article Entitled “Prop 63 Critics Miss the Mark Entirely”

On September 1, 2011, the Capitol Weekly printed a response entitled, "Prop 63 Critics Miss the Mark Entirely," authored by Dr. Marvin Southard, Director of Los Angeles County Dept. of Mental Health. This is in response to the Capitol Weekly Op-ed from August 25, 2011 about the Mental Health Services Act.  Dr. Southard’s Op-ed can be found at:

LA County MHSA Full Service Partnership Program Receives Challenge Award

For innovation and creativity from the California State Association of Counties.  For text on this award go to:


California Mental Health Services Authority Awards Suicide Prevention Contracts

On May 10, 2011, the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), a joint powers authority (JPA) of counties, announced it will begin contract negotiations for suicide prevention services with ten approved providers.  These contract awards are the first phase of Mental Health Services Act Statewide Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) Projects.

In January, 2011, the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) approved over $123 million for PEI Statewide Projects to promote mental health.  This $123 million was designated for statewide projects to prevent suicides, improve student mental health, and reduce the stigma of mental health.  In May, 2011, CalMHSA  is allocating over $23 million for the Statewide Suicide Prevention Project.  CalMHSA and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (co-author of the Mental Health Services Act) have issued press releases on the allocation of suicide prevention contracts by CalMHSA.  These press releases are available below.

Press Release: CalMHSA Awards Suicide Prevention Contracts

Press Release: Steinberg Applauds Awarding of Prop 63 Suicide Prevention Funds

State Task Force Seeks to Improve Ways to Handle Mental Health Cases in Criminal Justice System– report to the Judicial Council of California.  

See Judicial Council Press Release at

See full report at

PBS Airs Story Entitled "California Program Stresses Early Detection, Treatment of Mental Illness"

On February 9th, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) NewsHour television show broadcast a story about a San Francisco teenager who had his mental illness identified early and who has had success with treatment.  Proposition 63 is highlighted as the funding source for the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) program and mental health advocate, Rusty Selix, is interviewed in the story. 

Click here to view the story or read the transcript on the PBS website

Click the link below to read PBS reporter Spencer Michels' blog on this mental health issue and to view more footage on the San Francisco teenager:

Spencer Michel’s Blog on the issue and additional footage

Federal Health Reform and State Law Challenges: Impact on Mental Health

Article published in the California Watch on February 16, 2011 addresses the benefits of federal health reform for mental health and the challenges that remain from state law. Article: Federal reform would bolster mental health care but challenges remain



What is the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) doing that might prevent a mental health crisis of the kind that occurred in Arizona?

Posted 01/14/2011

Please listen to CNN-KSRO Radio News Interview for Friday, January 14, 2011, featuring MHSOAC Commissioner Chair Dr. Larry Poaster and MHSOAC Consulting Psychologist Dr. Deborah Lee. They shared what the MHSA is doing to provide prevention and early intervention mental health services to avert a crisis like the one in Arizona. These services assist individuals, their families and communities in recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness.

CNN-KSRO Radio Interview MP3 file icon(mp3)