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NAMI CA Public Policy Platform

NAMI California Policy Platform

2021 Legislation

Overview of 2021 bills we’re co-sponsoring, supporting or tracking 

Top Priority Legislation and Policies

Senate Bill 224 (Portantino) – Mental Health Education for Grades 1-12. State Senator Anthony J. Portantino introduced SB 224 to require that all students in California receive age-appropriate mental health education. The bill, which NAMI California co-sponsored, ensures that students in grades 1 and 12 will receive mental health education from a qualified instructor at least one time during elementary school, one time during middle school, and one time during high school. Find out more about SB 224, read NAMI’s letter of support and sign our petition to help it move forward.

AB 1065 (Maienschein) – Personal income taxes: voluntary contributions: Mental Health Help Program Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund. Assembly Member Brian Maienschein introduced AB 1065 to create a Mental Health Help Program that aids in training law enforcement officers to assist, and engage safely with, people living with a mental illness and allows taxpayers to make voluntary contributions to the fund on their California tax returns. Find out more about AB 1065, read NAMI California’s letter in support for the bill and sign our petition to help move it forward.

Assembly Bill 1331 (Irwin) – Mental health: Statewide Director of Crisis Services. Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin introduced AB 1331 to establish a new position at the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to focus on establishing and monitoring a comprehensive crisis care system that ensures Californians receive the care they deserve in the most expedient way possible. NAMI California is a co-sponsor of this bill with The California Hospital Association. Find out more about AB 1331, read NAMI California’s letter of support, and sign our petition to support it.

Senate Bill 21 (Glazer) – Specialized license plates: mental health awareness. State Senator Steve Glazer introduced SB 21 to require the California Department of Education (CDE) to apply to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to establish a mental health awareness license plate program. Find out more about SB 21 and read NAMI California’s letter.

Assembly Bill 988 (Bauer-Kahan) – Miles Hall Lifeline Act. Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan introduced AB 988 to establish the “9-8-8” emergency response system for Californians experiencing a mental health crisis. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 988.


More Bills We Support

Senate Bill 17 (Pan) – Office of Racial Equity
State Senator Richard Pan introduced SB 17 to establish the Office of Racial Equity and the Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council. Establishing an Office of Racial Equity will help the State practice equity; turning our commitment equity into actionable strategies in our immediate response to the crisis of the pandemic, our recovery efforts, and as the world reshapes the global economy. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of SB 17.

Senate Bill SB 106 (Umberg) – Mental Health Services Act: innovative programs. State Senator Tom Lackey introduced SB 106 to makes changes to county requirements for Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Innovation component spending. SB 106 does not specify that counties electing to expend MHSA Innovation funds on Full Service Partnership Programs (FSPs) must engage stakeholders in their decision to do so, and NAMI CA believes all statewide and local MHSA funded programs must be client- and family-driven. Read NAMI California’s letter in opposition to SB 106.

Senate Bill 221 (Wiener) – Health care coverage: timely access to care. State Senator Scott Weiner introduced this bill to close a loophole in state law and regulations and establish a clear and appropriate timely access standard for follow-up appointments for mental health care and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) treatment. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of SB 221.

Senate Bill 316 (Eggman) – Medi-Cal: federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics. State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman introduced SB 316 to allow same day visits for medical, dental, and/or mental health care in community clinics. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of SB 316.

SB 340 (Stern) – Lanterman-Petris-Short Act: hearings. State Senator Henry I. Stern introduced SB 340 to ensure family, friends, or knowledgeable acquaintances can testify at Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act hearings about inpatient and outpatient commitment and court-ordered treatment. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of SB 340.

Senate Bill 507 (Eggman) – Mental health services: assisted outpatient treatment. State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman introduced SB 507 to make important changes to the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Act, specifically making individuals transitioning from conservatorship eligible for AOT, permits remote testimony in AOT proceedings, and requires information regarding the person’s capacity to give informed consent regarding psychotropic medication to be provided to the court. Read NAMI California’s letter of support for SB 507.

Senate Bill 508 (Stern) – Mental health coverage: school-based services. State Senator Henry I. Stern introduced SB 508 to improve children and adolescents’ access to needed mental health services, by ensuring health plans meet their legal requirement to provide mental health services to youth enrollees who are referred by their schools, as well as require plans to collaborate with local education agencies (LEAs) when 15% of an LEA’s student population are enrolled in a particular health plan. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of SB 508.

Senate Bill 516 (Eggman) – Certification for intensive treatment: review hearing. State Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman introduced SB 516 to provide that a person’s medical condition may be considered in determining their mental condition for purposes of certifying them for a 14-or 30-day involuntary detention for treatment and evaluation under the Lanterman-Petris Short (LPS) Act. Read our letter of support for SB 516.

Senate Bill 782 (Glazer) – Assisted outpatient treatment programs. State Senator Steven M. Glazer introduced SB 782 to make individuals transitioning from conservatorship eligible for Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Act services. Read NAMI California’s letter of support for SB 782.

Assembly Bill 118 (Kamlager) – Emergency services: community response: grant program. Assembly Member Sydney Kamlager introduced AB 118, the Community response initiative to fund the California Office of Emergency Services to make grants to community organizations to expand their roles in emergency response involving a variety of considerably vulnerable populations, including people facing mental health crises. Read NAMI California’s letter of support for AB 118.

Assembly Bill 234 (Ramos) – Office of Suicide Prevention. Assembly Member James Ramos introduced AB 234 to ease financing for the statewide Office of Suicide Prevention at the California Department of Public Health, by removing the requirement that the Department of Public Health fund the Office of Suicide Prevention using existing department resources, opening the door for the development of a statewide suicide prevention strategy. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 234.

Assembly Bill 451 (Arambula) – Health care facilities: treatment of psychiatric emergency medical conditions. Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, M.D., introduced AB 451, which specifies that an acute psychiatric hospital, regardless of whether it maintains an emergency department, is required to provide emergency care and services to relieve or eliminate a psychiatric emergency medical condition. Read NAMI California’s letter of support for AB 451.

Assembly Bill 552 (Quirk-Silva) Integrated School-Based Behavioral Health Partnership Program. Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced AB 552 to establish an Integrated School-Based Behavioral Health Partnership Program that would maximize the expertise among both schools and county behavioral health systems in meeting the mental health and educational needs of our children and youth. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 552.

Assembly Bill 563 (Berman)- School-based health programs. Assembly Member Marc Berman introduced AB 563 to establish a new Office of School-Based Health and the California Department of Education (CDE). By establishing a state level Office of School-Based Health, AB 563 has the potential to help California maximize available federal funding for critical health care services students may access in a school setting. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 563.

Assembly Bill 586 (O’Donnell) – Pupil health: health and mental health services: School Health Demonstration Project. Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell introduced AB 586 to establish a School Health Demonstration Project, to expand students’ access to health and behavioral health services. While many schools currently offer school-based health care, this pilot project could expand effective models in areas of the state where school-based health has not yet been adopted. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 586

AB 638 (Quirk-Silva) – Integrated School-Based Behavioral Health Partnership Program. Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva introduced AB 638 to acknowledges the importance of maximizing the use of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding for people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders, by authorizing counties to use MHSA Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) funds to address both mental health and substance use disorder needs in their communities. A Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 638. 

Assembly Bill 935 (Maienschein) – Telehealth. Assembly Member Brian Maienschein introduced AB 935 to assure telehealth is broadly used by health plans to treat children and mothers in need of mental health support. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 935.

Assembly Bill (Lackey) – 998 Incarcerated persons: health records. Assembly Member Tom Lackey introduced AB 998 to enable sharing the mental health records of a person transferred from or between the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the State Department of State Hospitals (DSH), and/or county agencies. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 998.

AB 1178 (Irwin) Medi-Cal: Serious Mental Illness Drugs. Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin introduced AB 1178 to improve access to psychiatric medications for Medi-Cal patients who have a serious mental illness by removing discriminatory prior authorization requirements, allowing adults to have a 90-day supply of medication, and permitting pharmacists to provide refills for lost or stolen medication and for individuals with less than 7 days of remaining medication.. Read NAMI California’s letter in support of AB 1178.

Policy Positions

Summary of the May Revise to the Governor’s State Budget (May 2021)

Letter in opposition to the May Revision Proposal to Discontinue State Hospital Treatment for Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act Civil Commitments (May 2021)

Letter in support of your SB 782, which makes individuals transitioning from conservatorship eligible for Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Act services (April 2021)

Letter to California Department of Health Care Services on California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) – Mental Health (March 2021)

Letter on Peer Certification Principles for Implementation

State Vaccine Guidelines and Consideration of Behavioral Health Providers and Clients (March 2021)

NAMI CA Final 2020-21 State Budget – Behavioral Health Issues

Letter in Opposition of SB665 to Jim Wood, Chair Assembly Committee on Health (June 2020)

NAMI California Letter to the Governor’s Task Force on Policing (June 2020)

Coalition Letter to Governor Newsom to preserve the goals and services provided by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) (March 2020)

Letter to State Assembly Chairs O’Donnell and Wood in support of AB 2668 (Quirk-Silva and Weber), Integrated School-Based Behavioral Health Partnership Program (March 2020)

Letter to Governor Newsom urging state and local government leaders to continue to honor the values outlined in the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) during the COVID-19 crisis (March 2020)

Letter to State Senator Richard Pan in support of SB 855 (Wiener): Health coverage: mental health or substance abuse disorders (March 2020)

Letter to Senator Richard Pan in support of SB 854 (Beall): Health care coverage: Substance use disorders (March 2020)

NAMI CA MHSA Position Letter (December 2019)

2019 NAMI CA Legislative Bill Positions (updated 8-14-19); 2019 Legislative Wrap-Up (published October 2019)

2019 California State Legislative Wrap-Up (published October 2019)

Governor Newsom Announces Dr. Tom Insel as “Mental Health Czar of California” (NAMI CA Press Release)

Enacted 2019-2020 CA State Budget

Letter to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) urging them to submit an Serious Mental Illness/Severe Emotional Disturbance (SMI/SED) Demonstration Opportunity application to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. (January 2019)

Proposition 2 – No Place Like Home: NAMI California supports Prop2. Read more about Prop 2.

AB 680 (Chu) – Mental Health Training for Public Safety Dispatchers: Fact Sheet; Analysis; Letter

Letter on concerns about AB 480 (Salas) – Using Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Funds: NAMI California concerns AB 480 Letter; AB 734 Letter; Whole Person Care

Policy and Legislation News

Find the latest news on policy on our blog.

2020 State Legislation and Policy Overview

Legislation: AB 3242 (Irwin)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

NAMI California is the co-sponsor of this bill, with the California Hospital Association, which aims to make mental health assessments — and as a result, treatment — quicker and more accessible through telehealth and other remote technology.

About the Bill: This proposes an amendment to the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, which authorizes the involuntary commitment and treatment of persons with specified mental health disorders for the protection of the persons so committed. Under the act, if a person, as a result of a mental health disorder, is a danger to others, or to themselves, or is gravely disabled, the person may, upon probable cause, be taken into custody for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention, or placement for evaluation and treatment. This amendment to the law would authorize an examination, assessment, or evaluation specified, required, or authorized by the above-mentioned provisions to be conducted using telehealth. More about the bill; see a video message from NAMI California CEO Jessica Cruz about this legislation.

Legislation: AB 2112 (Ramos)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

About the Bill:

NAMI California supported this bill to establish the Office of Suicide Prevention within the California Health and Human Services Agency, to lead research and prevention efforts for youth suicide and toxic stress. Existing law establishes the State Department of Public Health within the California Health and Human Services Agency. This bill would authorize the State Department of Public Health to establish the Office of Suicide Prevention within the department would require the office to perform specified duties, including providing strategic guidance to statewide and regional partners regarding best practices on suicide prevention and reporting to the Legislature on progress to reduce rates of suicide, and authorize the office to apply for and use federal grants. The bill would require the office to consult with the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission to implement suicide prevention efforts and would require the commission to transfer its suicide prevention contracts to the office, as prescribed. More about the bill.

Legislation: AB 2377 (Chiu)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

About the Bill: NAMI California supported this bill. Among other provisions, current law requires a residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE), if 7 or more residents of the facility will be transferred as a result of the forfeiture of a license or the change in the use of a facility, to submit a proposed closure plan for the affected residents to the State Department of Social Services for review, and requires the department to approve or disapprove the plan. Current law requires an RCFE to refund to a resident any paid pre admission fees, according to a prescribed schedule. Current law imposes civil penalties for a violation of these requirements by an RCFE, of $100 per violation per day. This bill would establish similar procedures and requirements for an adult residential facility transferring a resident of the facility to another facility or to an independent living arrangement as a result of the forfeiture of a license or a closure of the facility for another reason. More about the bill.

The Legislation: SB 803 (Beall)

Signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 25.

About the Bill: NAMI California supports this bill to establish a peer support specialist certification program administered by the State Department of Health Care Services. Current law establishes the Medi-Cal program, which is administered by the State Department of Health Care Services and under which qualified low-income persons receive health care benefits. The Medi-Cal program is, in part, governed and funded by federal Medicaid program provisions. Current law establishes a schedule of benefits under the Medi-Cal program and provides for various services, including behavioral and mental health services that are rendered by Medi-Cal enrolled providers.This bill would establish a peer support specialist certification program administered by the department. More about the bill; sign our letter urging Governor Newsom to sign the bill into law.

Legislation: SB 1259 (Hurtado)

NAMI California supported this bill to require the State Department of Social Services to establish a task force for the purpose of issuing a report with recommendations on how to meet the housing and care needs of elderly recipients of SSI/SSP benefits. The bill was held on the Assembly Appropriations suspense file and it will not move forward in the process.

Legislation: AB 2015 (Eggman)

About the Bill: NAMI California supported this bill. Existing law authorizes a peace officer or a professional designated by the county to take a person into custody for a period of up to 72 hours for assessment, evaluation, and crisis intervention, or placement for evaluation and treatment, when the person is a danger to self or others, or is gravely disabled, as a result of a mental health disorder. Existing law also authorizes a court to order the evaluation of a person who is alleged to be a danger to self or others as a result of a mental disorder, or the evaluation of a criminal defendant who appears to be a danger to self or others, or to be gravely disabled, as a result of chronic alcoholism or the use of narcotics or restricted dangerous drugs. Existing law authorizes a person who is detained or under court order pursuant to those provisions to be certified, under certain conditions, for not more than 14 days of intensive treatment related to the mental health disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism.

Existing law requires that a certification review hearing be held, as specified, and governs the procedure for presenting evidence at the hearing. Existing law requires the hearing to be conducted by either a court-appointed commissioner or a referee, or a certification review hearing officer, as described. Existing law authorizes the person to be detained for involuntary care, protection, and treatment related to the mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism if, at the conclusion of the certification review hearing, the person conducting the hearing finds that there is probable cause that the person certified is a danger to self or others or is gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism, as specified.

This bill would authorize the evidence presented in support of the certification decision to include information regarding the person’s medical condition condition, as defined, and how that condition bears on certifying the person as a danger to themselves or to others or as gravely disabled. The bill would require the hearing officer to consider the information in the determination of probable cause.

Existing law requires a person’s involuntary detention for intensive treatment to be terminated and the person released if the person certified is no longer a danger to self or others as a result of mental disorder or impairment by chronic alcoholism.

This bill would require, if the person needs continuing medical treatment after the termination of the involuntary detention, the person to be informed that continuing medical treatment is recommended. More about the bill.

Legislation: AB 1976 (Eggman)

NAMI California supports this bill.

About the Bill: The Assisted Outpatient Treatment Demonstration Project Act of 2002, known as Laura’s Law, until January 1, 2022, authorizes each county to elect to offer specified mental health programs either through a resolution adopted by the county board of supervisors or through the county budget process if the county board of supervisors makes a finding that specified mental health programs will not be reduced as a result of participating. Existing law authorizes participating counties to pay for the services provided from moneys distributed to the counties from various continuously appropriated funds, including the Mental Health Services Fund, when included in a county plan, as specified.

This bill, commencing July 1, 2021, would instead require a county or group of counties to offer those mental health programs unless a county or group of counties opts out by a resolution passed by the governing body stating the reasons for opting out and any facts or circumstances relied on in making that decision. The bill would also authorize a county to instead offer those mental health programs in combination with one or more counties, as specified. The bill would prohibit a county or group of counties implementing these provisions from reducing existing voluntary mental health programs serving adults, or children’s mental health programs, as a result of the implementation. The bill would also repeal the expiration of Laura’s Law, thereby extending it indefinitely.

Existing law authorizes various persons to request the county mental health director to file a petition in the superior court for an order for assisted outpatient treatment for a person who meets specified criteria.

This bill, commencing July 1, 2021, would additionally authorize a judge in a superior court to request a petition for that order to be filed for a person who appears before the judge. The bill would make additional conforming changes. More about the bill.