ACCESS promotes client advocacy across the state in order to ensure services are client-driven from start to finish. ACCESS advocates at the local and state level to promote values of the Recovery Model in mental health services.
ACCESS California is a statewide consumer-led public mental health advocacy program of Cal Voices a continuation of NorCal MHA. Recognizing the statewide client advocacy voice had waned since the passage of the MHSA in 2004, Cal Voices MHA conceived the ACCESS program in 2016 to elevate and empower the client voice throughout California. In 2017, the MHSOAC formally funded the ACCESS California program specifically to accomplish these goals. As of November 2020, ACCESS California is funded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's Council on Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health.
ACCESS California's mission is to strengthen and expand local and statewide client/consumer advocacy through individual and community empowerment. Through our ongoing research, data collection and evaluation, legislative and policy analysis, advocacy, education, training, outreach, and engagement activities, ACCESS implements strategies to elevate the voices, identify the needs, and increase genuine public participation of client stakeholders to drive truly transformative change in the Public Mental Health System.
ACCESS California envisions a Public Mental Health System in which programming priorities and funding decisions are developed and continue to evolve through an ongoing collaboration between agency leaders, clients receiving services, and other community stakeholders. Such collaboration is rooted in respect, mutuality, shared power, and the unwavering conviction that all clients can and will recover with the appropriate resources and supports. Services are truly recovery oriented and client-driven, and providers and system leadership elevate clients' interests above their own.
ACCESS California's three primary values and annual program themes are:
Advocacy: Meaningful client participation and inclusion of clients at all levels in public mental health program planning, policy development, implementation, oversight, administration, and evaluation
Recovery: The unwavering conviction that all clients can recover with the appropriate services and supports provided through the PMHS
Peer Support: Fidelity to the evidence based model of peer support and expansion of peer services in all public mental health programming
Cal Voices, a continuation of Mental Health America of Northern California (NorCal MHA) is a 501(c)(3) public benefit organization dedicated to improving the lives of residents in the diverse communities of California through advocacy, education, research, and culturally relevant peer support services. In all its programs, Cal Voices works with individuals and families with mental health challenges to promote wellness and recovery, prevention, and improved access to services and supports. Founded in 1946, Cal Voices is the oldest continuously operating peer-run consumer advocacy agency in California.