Message from the Executive Director

Surveying Counties as Part of a Deeper Dive Into Mental Health Funding 

Amie Miller, PsyD., Executive Director 

CalMHSA’s work to gain more clarity around the investment needed to fully fund the public mental health system is quickly taking shape. We’ve undertaken this initiative because your departments are potentially facing a ground-shifting redistribution of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding that will significantly impact the safety-net populations you work with.  

As we dive deeper into our research with The Rand Corporation, we’ll soon be sending you a survey about specific budget and client service data. We hope you’ll keep an eye out for it and take a few minutes to share your valuable insight. 

We understand your workforce is stretched to its limit and ask for this additional effort only because the information is mission critical. As you well know, earlier this year, Gov. Newsom proposed a ballot initiative that would substantially alter the way counties use MHSA funding, including reallocating a major portion of it to assist individuals who are unhoused and have serious mental health conditions or drug addiction. 

Californians will vote on that proposal in March of next year, even though a report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office found that the proposal in general will “likely result in counties spending less on a number of current programs funded through MHSA, potentially reducing outpatient services, crisis response, prevention services, and outreach.”     

The research we’ve undertaken with Rand is both innovative and ambitious – and a wholly necessary investment in the future of public mental health. So necessary, in fact, that the Board has agreed to use CalMHSA reserve funds to fund this project on your behalf. The issues we’re exploring are complex challenges of funding, delivery and systemic inequities. While untangling this web will likely take many months to complete, we appreciate you setting aside a bit of time early in the process to complete the survey when you receive it.  

Your data will be essential to understanding how underfunded the public mental health system is – and how much more underfunded it may become. 

October 24, 2023