In November 2004, California voters passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). The law called for the establishment of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC). Section 10 of the MHSA (Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5845) established the MHSOAC and defined the creation and composition of the Commission.
The role of the MHSOAC is to oversee the implementation of the MHSA. The MHSOAC is also responsible for developing strategies to overcome stigma. At any time, the MHSOAC may advise the Governor or the Legislature on mental health policy.
The MHSOAC oversees the Adults and Older Adults Systems of Care Act; Human Resources; Innovative Programs; Prevention & Early Intervention Programs; and the Children’s Mental Health Services Act. The Commission replaced the advisory committee which had been established pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5814.
In the past, the MHSOAC has been responsible for review and approval of county plans for the Prevention & Early Intervention (PEI) and Innovation Program components of the MHSA. After the passage of Assembly Bill 100 (AB100) in March 2011, the role of the Commission shifted from review and approval of county plans to providing training and technical assistance for county mental health planning as needed. Additionally, the Commission evaluates MHSA-funded programs throughout the State. When AB 1467 passed in June 2012, the MHSOAC’s role of training and technical assistance and evaluation expanded; approval of county Innovation plans by the MHSOAC was also reinstated. The MHSOAC receives all county 3-year plans, annual updates, and annual Revenue and Expenditure Reports. The following are responsibilities and services the MHSOAC conducts.
Review of MHSA Programs
- The MHSOAC oversees the MHSA funded programs and services through the counties’ annual updates. Counties submit updates every year to reflect the status of programs and services in their counties.
- Provides California the opportunity to develop and test new, unproven mental health models with the potential to become tomorrow’s best practices.
- The MHSOAC supports collaborative research efforts to develop and implement improved tools and methods for program improvement and evaluation statewide.
- The MHSOAC has a statutory mandate to evaluate how MHSA funding has been used, what outcomes have resulted, and how to improve services and programs.
- County triage personnel provide linkages and services to what may be the first mental health contact for someone in crisis. Crisis services are provided at shelters, jails, clinics and hospital emergency rooms to help link a person to appropriate services.
- Statewide stakeholder advocacy contracts are focused on supporting the mental health needs of consumers, children and transition aged youth, veterans, racial and ethnic minority communities and their families through education, advocacy, and outreach efforts.
- The MHSOAC selects special project topics and under the direction of a subcommittee of Commissioners, conducts research through discussion, review of academic literature, and interviews with those closely affected by the topic to formulate recommendations for administrative or legislative changes.
Technical Assistance & Training
- The MHSOAC offers technical assistance and training to counties, providers, clients and family members, and other stakeholders to support the goals of the MHSA and specific responsibilities of the Commission, such as review of counties’ MHSA-funded Innovative Program Plans.