For immediate release
August 9, 2016
Contact: Jennifer Whitney
MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION APPROVES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR INNOVATION PROGRAMS
Sacramento—The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission has approved more than $4 million for programs in two counties that will explore new mental health approaches and practices, particularly for those who lack access to services. Part of the Innovation component of the Mental Health Services Act, these programs promote learning and are client-driven, culturally competent, and recovery-oriented.
In San Mateo County, three Innovation programs were approved. They include the Health Ambassador Program for Youth which will train youth to be mental health ambassadors. There is a great deal of stigma surrounding mental illness; educating youth to be ambassadors could bring awareness, reduce stigma and help create pathways for them to feel more comfortable in seeking services. The Commissioners approved $750,000 for this program. Also in San Mateo County, $2.2 million was approved for a Behavioral Health Coordinated Services Center for the LGBTQ community. The center will promote collaboration among agencies and use a coordinated approach between behavioral health clinical services, education, and community events and activities. Culturally specific services will be developed, including outreach and coordination of service to the LGBTQ community. The third Innovation program approved in the County will fund the training of up to 18 staff members who will learn a new therapeutic model in treating trauma. Called the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT), this innovative approach shows promise in decreasing psychiatric hospitalizations and improving brain regulation. This therapeutic model is currently being used to treat children, but will be adapted for use with adults; $264,000 was approved for this Innovation project.
The Commission’s innovative programs are intended to increase access to services. Commissioners approved over $1 million for Contra Costa’s “Overcoming Transportation Barriers” Innovation project. Many mental health consumers face transportation challenges that limit their ability to access services. This project will allow for the hiring and training of peer transportation coordinators to help with transportation issues for people with mental health challenges.
These Innovation programs range from two to four years and must then be evaluated to determine whether the innovative approach should be sustained or replicated.
For more information on the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and the Mental Health Services Act, visit www.mhsoac.ca.gov.