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Celebrating Strides Made in Providing Services to those Underserved by the Mental Health System

Celebrating Strides Made in Providing Services to those Underserved by the Mental Health System

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Mental Health Services Act and Alameda County is marking this occasion with a one-day conference

Oakland, CA, September 21, 2015 – It’s the tenth anniversary of the Mental Health Services Act and Alameda County is marking this occasion with a one-day conference highlighting the strides made in serving individuals living with a mental illness, some of whom have been homeless and/or formerly incarcerated.  These individuals are best assisted with a mix of treatments and supports, which make wellness and recovery a reality for people living with mental health conditions.  The Full Service Partnership conference takes place on Friday, Sept. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.at the San Leandro Marina Community Center, 15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro.  The conference, which is for county staff, providers, people with lived experience and family members, is presented by Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services.

More than 2 million adults – about 8% of the population – are affected by potentially disabling mental illnesses each year in California.  (from http://prop63.org/about/prop-63-today/_Thanks to the Mental Health Services Act, Alameda County Full Service Partnership programs are able to provide care to some of the hardest to reach men and women in the county.

In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, and in 2005, it went into effect.  In 2007, Alameda County implemented six new and innovative treatment programs called Full Service Partnerships (FSPs).  They are funded through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), a 1 % tax on incomes over $1 million.  The MHSA emphasizes transformation of the mental health system while improving the quality of life for people living with a mental illness.

Full Service Partnership (FSP) programs are designed for people ages 18 and older who have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness and would benefit from an intensive service program.  The foundation of Full Service Partnerships is doing “whatever it takes” to help individuals on their path to recovery and wellness.

“Full Service Partnerships embrace client driven services and supports with each client choosing services based on individual needs,” says James Wagner, LMFT/LPCC, Adult System of Care Director, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services.  Unique to FSP programs are a low staff to client ratio, 24/7-crisis availability and a team approach that is a partnership between mental health staff and consumers.

FSP programs assist with housing, employment and education in addition to providing mental health services and integrated treatment for individuals who have a co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder.  Services can be provided to individuals in their homes, the community and other locations.  Peer and caregiver support groups are available. Embedded in Full Service Partnerships is a commitment to deliver services in ways that are culturally and linguistically competent and appropriate.

“Through the Full Service Partnerships, the 400 individuals served in fiscal year 2014/2015 have experienced significant reductions in hospitalizations, incarcerations and homelessness,” says Jennifer Mullane, Alameda County BHCS Clinical Program Specialist, Adult System of Care.  “Many people have also significantly improved their lives through employment and education.”

Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services uses MHSA funds help people, living with a mental health concern, to obtain jobs.  “We offer individual placement and support (IPS) and assist persons with a serious mental illness to get a competitive job,” says Rick DeGette, MFT, Alameda County BHCS Vocational Services Director.  A competitive job is one that people can apply for whether or not they have a disability.  “Our goal is to expand the number and types of jobs that will be a good match for our consumers’ preference,” DeGette says.  Studies have shown that the total number of weeks in competitive work or school has a positive impact on a person’s ability to address their mental health concern, reducing hospitalizations and other costly care.  Alameda County Vocational Services participates in an international learning collaborative project managed by the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center (http://www.dartmouthips.org) for training, data collection, and continual program improvement.

The one-day conference on September 25th will highlight the accomplishments of these programs and the people they serve.  The conference will also provide staff an opportunity to meet with others and generate ideas to improve upon what the Behavioral Health Care Services department does.  The two keynote speakers are Rusty Selix, co-author of the Mental Health Services Act, and Dee Lemonds, a commissioner appointed to serve on the body that oversees MHSA funding.

Available for press interviews are:
Manuel Jiménez, director of Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services
Jennifer Mullane, Alameda County BHCS Clinical Program Specialist, Adult
System of Care
Robert Ratner, MPH, MD, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services
Housing Services Director
Rick DeGette, MFT, Alameda County BHCS Vocational Services Director
Mark Shotwell, Homeless Outreach and Stabilization (HOST) Team Director,
Bonita House