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Mental Health Policy
Policy Brief, Publications, and Reports

ACCESS Client/Consumer Perspective of DHCS Medi-Cal Healthier California for All Proposal

A summary of the proposed changes which have the potential to impact adult behavioral health consumers is outlined below, followed by Cal Voices’ concerns, unanswered questions and recommendations. It is important to note that this is an initial proposal, with DHCS allowing for stakeholder involvement over the next few months to gather input.

Publication Date

January, 2020

Length

16 pages

ACCESS California State of the Community 2018-2019 Report

Each year ACCESS California provides a  State of the Community Report from the perspective of client advocacy across California. ACCESS aims to address current policy topics, relevant training, and the overall goal of transformative client-driven mental health policy.

Publication Date

October, 2019

Length

122 pages

ACCESS California Policy Update 10/16/19

ACCESS California provides a brief snapshot summary of legislative policy moving through the California State Congress. This includes the recorded status, support and opposition, and fiscal impacts according to legislative committee analyses as of the above date.

Publication Date

October, 2019

Length

4 pages

ACCESS California's Position Paper on 

CA Counties' Community Planning Processes

The MHSA, passed by California voters in 2004, was intended to transform the public mental health system, not only through the generation of new revenue to fund the expansion of services, but also by requiring unprecedented levels of stakeholder input and involvement at all levels of program planning, development, and oversight.

It is imperative that County planning processes reflect the community of clients they serve and allow for meaningful participation by client/consumer stakeholders who can advocate from experience and promote client dignity and rights in the way services are delivered.

Publication Date

November 2019

Length

3 pages

ACCESS California's Position Paper on 

Digital Therapeutics vs Wellness Applications

Digital therapeutics are evidence-based, software-driven interventions that are proven through at least one randomized controlled trial (RCT) to prevent, manage, or treat a health, mental health, or behavioral health condition. Although there are not yet any universally recognized qualifications for digital therapeutics, the industry and the United States government are developing definitions and best practices to outline a framework for these emerging therapies.

Publication Date

November 2019

Length

4 pages

Statement by Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO, Regarding Donald Trump’s Recent Comments on Mental Illness

"Mental illness doesn't cause violence, but violence causes mental illness. What are we doing for the living victims of the recent violent attacks, who are so soon forgotten by most public officials?

"There are more reasons, too, but the bottom line is this: When Clifford W. Beers, the founder of the modern mental health advocacy movement, said more than one hundred years ago that 'I must fight in the open,' he shed light on systemic failures and abuses that had been hidden behind institutional doors for decades. No reasoned person would want to go back there."

Publication Date

August, 2019

Length

1 pages

ACCESS California's Position Paper on Involuntary Mental Health Treatment 

ACCESS California, as a part of Mental Health America, addresses the client-driven perspective on Involuntary Mental Health Treatment. The dignity of risk is a right that any other person without mental illness is granted freely, so we must find balance between coercive outpatient treatment and directing clients to choose healthier outcomes.

Publication Date

July, 2019

Length

11 pages

MHA National Policy Position: Mental Health Court

Similar to other specialized court systems such as drug courts and veterans’ courts, mental health courts are an alternative to navigating the criminal justice system for people with a mental health disability. Mental health courts were developed in response to the inability of traditional courts and jails to address a defendant’s underlying mental illness, in cases where prior diversion efforts have failed, but the nature of the charge is not so serious that prosecutors are unwilling to relinquish control. Since the 1990s, mental health courts have been created in numerous jurisdictions[i] across the United States, largely as a response to the increasing number of defendants with serious mental health conditions (“mental illnesses”) who are caught up in the criminal justice system.

Publication Date

June 13, 2019

Length

9 Pages

2020 Census Inclusion of Mental Health Community

Accurate census data is extremely important because it drives congressional apportionment (how many members of the U.S. House of Representatives are allocated to California), congressional and local redistricting (what populations and areas are represented by our elected federal and state lawmakers), and the allocation of federal funding for vital programs that support individuals receiving services in the PMHS, including:

  • Medicaid (Medi-Cal)

  • Public Education

  • Special Education

  • Section 8/Low Income Housing vouchers and assistance

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Medicare Part B

  • Head Start

  • National School Lunch Program

  • State Children’s Health Insurance Program 

  • Child Care & Development Fund

  • Supplemental Insurance for Women, Infants, and Children

  • Local Education Grants

  • Community Block Grants

  • and much more!

Publication Date

May, 2019

Length

6 pages

MHA National Policy Position: College and University Response to Mental Health Crises

Colleges and universities (“colleges” refers to any post-secondary education) should be committed to the success and health of every student. Mental Health America (“MHA”) envisions healthy college environments in which all students are accorded dignity and fairness, and evidence-based policies are implemented which safeguard students’ opportunity to achieve their full potential free from stigma, prejudice, and discrimination. Consistent with this philosophy, MHA supports services and systems that promote the capacity of college students with mental health conditions to live lives that they value and to have the opportunity to attend college in supportive and welcoming environments.

Publication Date

March 9, 2019

Length

8 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: In Support of Recovery-Based System Transformation

Mental Health America (MHA) envisions a just, humane and healthy society in which all people are accorded respect, dignity and the opportunity to achieve their full potential free from stigma and prejudice. Consistent with this philosophy, MHA supports and promotes services and systems that facilitate and promote the capacity of people with mental health and substance use conditions to live a life that they value. This goal has become the aim of the recovery movement, led by people with lived experience of their own restored capacity. Using the Alcoholics Anonymous term, but with a mental health emphasis, the mental health movement has embraced the recovery movement.

Publication Date

March 9, 2019

Length

7 Pages

Peer Support Services in the PMHS

Peer support services have been shown to decrease costs of services, reduce symptoms and hospitalization, and improve the well-being and social functioning of those receiving services. California is one of the last states in the country to develop a statewide peer certification program. Currently, the state is trying for the third time to pass a peer certification bill. This paper outlines ACCESS California's recommendations for what statewide peer certification in California should look like.

Publication Date

February, 2019

Length

4 pages

Use of Digital Phenotyping in the PMHS

California tech companies are developing apps that use algorithms to track and measure clients’ mental states based on device use and behaviors, also known as digital phenotyping. The data collected from clients’ smartphones, web-connected devices, and wearable technology with apps such as 7 Cups of Tea and Mindstrong, is used for mental health screening and monitoring. The collected anonymous data also becomes private corporate property and could be resold for profit for targeted advertising, among other things. Counties are approving these apps and programs, often without stakeholder involvement, as Innovation programs to utilize Mental Heath Services Act money. This paper explains the risks associated with these programs, and the questions that client stakeholders should be asking their Counties prior to implementing them.

Publication Date

September, 2018

Length

4 pages

MHA National Policy Position: Peer Support Services

Mental Health America (MHA) believes that peer support is an essential element of successful communities that is integral to recovery from mental health and substance abuse conditions. MHA calls on states and communities to incorporate peer support into community-based mental health and substance use treatment services. Peer mental health and substance abuse support services make use of empathy and empowerment to help support and inspire recovery.

Publication Date

September 8, 2018

Length

4 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: Development of Employment Services for Adults in Recovery from Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions

To have and hold a satisfying and meaningful job is a crucial source of dignity and purpose for most people. For individuals with mental health and substance use conditions, work in some form (including competitive employment but also self–employment; cooperative work/employment; mutual exchange-based employment, work in a social enterprise, and volunteer work) is often a key to recovery.

Publication Date

December 2017

Length

13 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: Addressing the Health-Related Social Needs of People with Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions

There is a growing body of research demonstrating the alarmingly high rates of overall health problems and premature death among individuals with serious mental illnesses. A recent comprehensive review confirmed that people with mental health diagnoses die up to 20 years prior to other individuals with no mental health diagnosis.[1] Comorbid substance abuse exacerbates the effect.[2]

Publication Date

September 9, 2017

Length

5 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: Integration of Mental and General Health Care

Mental Health America (MHA) believes that treating the whole person through the integration of behavioral health[1] and general medical healthcare can save lives, reduce negative health outcomes, facilitate quality care, and promote efficiency and cost savings.

Publication Date

June 13, 2017

Length

14 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: Health Care Reform

Mental Health America (MHA) believes that all individuals and families should have access to mental health services that are responsive to their needs. This requires minimizing barriers, providing multiple referral and service pathways, redesigning services that are more culturally and linguistically competent[1] and evidence-based,[2] and expanding access in rural and inner-city areas to community-based systems of mental health and substance use services and supports that are integrated with medical care. MHA particularly advocates dedicating new funding “B4stage4.”[3] To promote wellness and recovery, governmental initiatives should promote mental health[4] and prevent mental illness[5] and identify people at risk as soon as symptoms become apparent.

Publication Date

June 14, 2016

Length

4 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: Evidence-Based Healthcare

Mental Health America (MHA) is dedicated to accelerating the application of scientific and practical knowledge to help in the recovery of people with mental health and substance use conditions. This focus on evidence-based healthcare spans the development, exposition, evaluation, replication, translation, dissemination and implementation of knowledge about mental health and substance use disorders and their prevention and treatment and includes all forms of knowledge, from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials and large epidemiological studies through clinical practice, outcome monitoring and insights and outcomes reported by people in treatment (e.g., patient registries[1])

Publication Date

March 5, 2016

Length

19 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: Self-Determination Initiatives

Mental Health America (MHA) envisions a just, humane and healthy society in which all people are accorded respect, dignity and the opportunity to achieve their full potential free from stigma, discrimination and prejudice, and supports recovery as the guiding principle for treatment of mental illness and addiction.[1] Consistent with this philosophy, MHA promotes individualized planning and self-determination[2] initiatives for individuals with mental health and substance use[3] conditions as important tools in the development of recovery-oriented systems of care.

Publication Date

June 3, 2015

Length

9 Pages

MHA National Policy Position: Mental Health Treatment in Correctional Facilities

Mental Health America (MHA) is dedicated to accelerating the application of scientific and practical knowledge to help in the recovery of people with mental health and substance use conditions. This focus on evidence-based healthcare spans the development, exposition, evaluation, replication, translation, dissemination and implementation of knowledge about mental health and substance use disorders and their prevention and treatment and includes all forms of knowledge, from randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials and large epidemiological studies through clinical practice, outcome monitoring and insights and outcomes reported by people in treatment (e.g., patient registries[1])

Publication Date

March 7, 2015

Length

7 Pages

2019 Legislative Bills

SB 10- Mental Health Services: peer, parent, transition-age, and family support specialist certification

This bill would require the State Department of Health Care Services to establish, no later than July 1, 2020, a statewide peer, parent, transition-age, and family support specialist certification program, as a part of the state’s comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder delivery system and the Medi-Cal program. The bill would include 4 certification categories: adult peer support specialist, transition-age youth peer support specialist, family peer support specialist, and parent peer support specialist.

Author(s)

Senator Beall

Assembly Member Waldron

Our Position

Support 

Date Introduced

December 3, 2018

AB 43- Mental Health

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to ensure that Mental Health Services Act funds are used in accordance with the provisions of the act and that there is adequate oversight of excess unspent funds.

Author(s)

Assembly Member Gloria

Our Position

Sponsor and Support 

Date Introduced

March 25, 2019

AB 512- Medi-Cal: specialty mental health services

This bill would require each mental health plan to prepare a cultural competency assessment plan to address specified matters, including disparities in access, utilization, and outcomes by various categories, such as race, ethnicity, and immigration status.

Author(s)

Assembly Member Ting

Our Position

Support 

Date Introduced

March 14, 2019

AB 1352- Community mental health services: mental health boards

This bill would require a mental health board to report directly to the governing body, and to have the authority to act, review, and report independently from the county mental health department or county behavioral health department, as applicable.

Author(s)

Assembly Member Waldron

Our Position

Neutral

Date Introduced

March 25, 2019