CSAC Bulletin Article

Counties Play Key Role in New Coalition on Behavioral Health

June 21, 2018

California is at a critical juncture in the way it manages behavioral health and substance use disorder and the impact they can have on other social services. That’s one of the reasons CSAC is joining Behavioral Health Action (BHA). The new coalition is dedicated to raising behavioral health challenges and substance use disorder higher on the public policy priority list.

Representing health care providers, consumer groups, counties, labor, and other organizations united around improving access to behavioral health services. The coalition plans to raise the issue with candidates and educate the Legislature on the need for more engagement on behavioral health issues. For counties, behavioral health issues and funding continue to be a top priority.

“We know that behavioral health is a critical component for the most vexing policy issues facing us today,” CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus said at a Capitol press conference this week. “From homelessness to foster care to the criminal justice system, behavioral health prevention and treatment efforts are paramount to progress. But those efforts are wasted when done in a silo. Whether it’s at the local level between community partners or at the state level with dozens of organizations, collaboration leverages our strengths and leads to much better outcomes for the people we serve.”

The creation of the Behavioral Health Action coalition epitomizes collaboration by bringing together diverse organizations to benefit all Californians. The California Hospital Association is the founding member, and members include the California State Sheriffs Association, the County Behavioral Health Directors Association, the California Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, treatment providers, and other advocates.

“Our goal is to create a unified movement within California for more coordinated and integrated care services for individuals with behavioral health needs,” said Jessica Cruz the California Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “We want to reduce stigma and disparities in behavioral health resources and care that exist in our communities. In the months ahead, Behavioral Health Action will be a catalyst to drives awareness, action and accountability.”

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