Behavioral Health

About Behavioral Health

An estimated 7.5 million people in California experience a mental health disorder in any given year, but only one-third of adults who experience mental illness are getting treatment due to a lack of behavioral health care workers. Despite major improvements in health care coverage over the past decade, substantial discrepancies persist in available behavioral health care among commercial health plans and public programs. For this reason, many people experiencing mental health crises frequently turn to hospital emergency departments for treatment, and this number is increasing. From 2011 to 2020, there was a 68% increase. Caregivers at hospitals know the obstacles people with behavioral health conditions face and the challenges in getting them treatment and embrace the essential role they play in helping those in crisis. Strategies must mirror those in primary health care where the goal is prevention and early intervention, along with offering a continuum of services that will help Californians with behavioral health needs avoid acute care, hospitalization, incarceration, conservatorships, and institutionalization.  

UN Releases Policy Brief on COVID-19 and Mental Health

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres announced the UN’s policy brief on COVID-19 and mental health last week and urged the international community to do much more to protect those who face rising mental pressures. He said that mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19 that must be expanded and fully funded. 

DHCS to Host Webinar Feb. 26 on ACEs Aware Initiative

The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is hosting a live webinar from noon to 1 p.m. (PT) on Feb. 26 with California’s Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH. The webinar marks the first in a series and will provide an overview of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Aware initiative.

State Adopts Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention

The California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission has released a statewide Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention for 2020-25. The plan combines a public health approach with behavioral health interventions, framed by four key strategies: establish a suicide prevention infrastructure, minimize risk for suicidal behavior, enhance early identification of suicide risk and increase access to services based on risk, and improve suicide-related services and supports.

HQI Announces Perinatal Mental Health Learning Community

California birthing hospitals are invited to participate in the Hospital Quality Institute’s (HQI) Perinatal Mental Health (PMH) Learning Community, aimed at helping hospitals strengthen approaches to mental health in the perinatal period. Download a program description and application, and register for an informational webinar on Jan. 15, 2020.