Council Hears about Gov. Newsom’s Bold Mental Health Plan
With debate heating up over a bold proposal by Gov. Newsom to address California’s growing mental health crisis, the Bay Area Council’s Healthcare and Homelessness committees recently held a joint meeting to hear from California Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health Stephanie Welch on the plans. Welch outlined Gov. Newsom’s sweeping behavioral health reform proposal, the Administration’s goals, and answered questions in an open discussion with members.
Earlier this year Gov. Newsom, in partnership with state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (Stockton) and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (Thousand Oaks), announced a proposal to make sweeping changes to how California treats mental illness, substance abuse, and homelessness. The proposal would modernize the Mental Health Services Act of 2004, opening up funds to those struggling with substance abuse disorders, for housing, and for wraparound services in residential settings. The proposal would also create 10,000 modern behavioral health beds and housing units to care for and house those experiencing the most severe mental health needs and substance use disorders. These beds and units would be funded through a $4.7 billion general obligation bond aimed at the March 2024 ballot.
While the Council has not taken a formal position on the ballot measure, we continue to evaluate this proposal and work with members and the Administration to make progress on these critical shared goals. To engage in the Council’s healthcare policy work, please contact Vice President Patrick Kallerman.