Message from the Executive Director

From Funding to Compassionate Service – Telling the County Story

Amie Miller, PsyD., Executive Director 

Regardless of what happens with a March 2024 ballot initiative that could substantially shift the way Mental Health Services Act dollars are used, it’s clear that individuals across the state, in all of your communities, need to know two things: 1) exactly what is needed to fund the state’s public mental health system, and 2) all that you do for the people you serve, particularly individuals who are unhoused. 

CalMHSA will be focusing much time and energy on exactly those efforts over the next several months. 

We’ve begun in earnest a project with The RAND Corporation to deeply explore the true investment needed to support California’s public mental health system. This work will be complex, uncovering the related challenges of funding, delivery, and systemic inequities. We’ll be looking to you and your departments for some essential collaboration; stay tuned for more information about a survey that will ensure RAND can incorporate your real-world and real-time experience in its findings. 

CalMHSA has also partnered with a human-centered design research organization to help the general public understand all that happens in county behavioral health, how the services you provide go far beyond clinical counseling or inpatient treatment, and the many, many ways that you respond to the needs of the unhoused, and formerly unhoused, individuals who turn to you for help. 

This, too, is a complicated undertaking. Our aim is to develop messaging that resonates with Californians who live in disparate circumstances and divergent geographies, and who have different levels of preconceptions about public mental health. But we are up for the challenge. Already, some of you and your staff, as well as some consumers who have thrived because of you, have engaged the team in conversation that is lighting the way toward an approach for this vital public awareness. 

We’ll keep you abreast of developments on both of these important fronts over the next several months and may be looking to you for additional insight, anecdotes, and data to help us tell the story of county behavioral health. 

September 28, 2023