CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC President Advocates for Behavioral Health Services with Lieutenant Governor

Oct. 24, 2018

CSAC President and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez joined nearly 60 leaders in California’s behavioral health sphere for a frank conversation on the need to adapt these critical services to better meet the needs of all residents with Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom Monday in San Francisco.

President Perez participated as a member of the new Behavioral Health Action coalition, which brings together counties, hospitals, behavioral health advocates, providers, public safety, and others to raise awareness of the challenges in behavioral health today.

Lieutenant Governor Newsom spoke for nearly an hour to the Coalition in a moderated conversation with California Hospital Association Executive Director Carmela Coyle and National Association of Mental Illness California’s Executive Director Jessica Cruz.

Supervisor Perez had the honor of asking the first question of the gubernatorial candidate, where she emphasized the need for collaboration among counties and providers as behavioral health services enter a new era of integration, access, and thoughtful change at the county level.

Lieutenant Governor Newsom spoke at length about the need for the state to focus on brain health, and how behavioral health “impacts almost every other issue in California today.” This echoes CSAC Executive Director Graham Knaus, who wrote about the intersection of behavioral health with homelessness, housing, criminal justice, and other issues in the CSAC Blog this summer.

The Lieutenant Governor closed by reaffirming his commitment to behavioral health issues and rallying the Coalition with his optimism about the future: “No state is more capable than this state to lead on behavioral health,” Newsom said.

CSAC is a founding member of the Behavioral Health Action coalition. The Coalition’s identified priorities include support for expanding the state’s behavioral health workforce, investing in prevention and early intervention strategies, and ensuring adequate crisis services statewide. The Coalition is contacting candidates for office to raise awareness of behavioral health issues and their importance for the future of California. The Coalition has also reached out to the campaign of gubernatorial candidate John Cox, but has not yet received a response at the time of this writing.

Visit the BHA website, including a video of CSAC’s Executive Director Graham Knaus speaking at a BHA rally on the steps of the Capitol this summer, here.

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