Like other parts of the United States, California is facing a mental health crisis, from anxiety to substance misuse. Adding to those difficulties are funding concerns, overwhelmed resources, and disagreements over how best to address these issues.
Check out these recent stories about the state’s mental health concerns, including how experts are proposing to overcome these challenges.
State Moves Toward Legal Injection Sites
The California Assembly is considering the creation of designated injection sites where people can legally use drugs under supervision. The proposal previously passed the Senate. Under the proposed program, test locations would be launched in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Supporters of the proposal say that the program would help prevent overdose deaths and encourage users to seek treatment. Opponents say the program would encourage illegal activity and further drug use.
California’s Mental Health Line Sees Funding Struggles
The California Peer-Run Warm Line, which offers free mental health support to callers, is struggling with an uncertain future amid an increase in calls. The Warm Line received three years of funding through the California Department of Health Care Services in 2019. That support is set to expire soon, leaving it without a specific funding stream.
The 24-hour service was first established in 2014 and is operated by Mental Health Association San Francisco. The group has requested $58 million in state funding over the next five years to help it maintain staffing, service about 80,000 to 100,000 calls per year, and build call centers across the state.
Governor Proposes Mental Health “Court”
Amid increasing homelessness and a struggling mental health care system, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court. Under this proposal, individuals would receive a coordinated mental health treatment plan with a judge’s supervision. Treatment refusal could be considered grounds for conservatorship, which has raised concerns among mental health and civil liberties advocates.
California Legislature Advances Social Media Bill
The California Assembly has voted to pass Assembly Bill 2408, which aims to hold companies responsible for social media addiction in children and teens. The bill has moved to the state Senate for debate. Sponsored by members Jordan Cunningham, a San Luis Obispo Republican, and Democrat Buffy Wicks of Oakland, this bill would fine social media companies up to $25,000 per violation.
These violations include any harms—emotional, physical, developmental, or financial—that a California minor experiences by using a social media platform. In addition, the minor involved must want to reduce their time spent on social media, but be unable to due to addiction. Business and tech leaders have opposed the large fines, saying that essentially it would force the social media companies to prohibit minors in the state from joining their platforms.
If you are a behavioral health provider in California, many of these proposals and concerns may affect your practice. With the right tools, you can stay efficient and flexible while preparing for the future.
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