MHSA Resources

MHSA Success Stories

Dropping In – an MHSA Success

Behavioral health resources thrive at new Amador Country drop-in center funded by MHSA.

From The Ledger-Dispatch by Bethany Monk , July 4, 2008

Reaching out for help can be a “magical” thing.

That’s how Michael Brown describes his continuing journey to heal and be healed, a journey that required him to call out to others for help in the midst of his darkest moments. The magical part, he said, is that he finally began the healing process.

Brown is like a quarter of American adults who suffered or currently endure some sort of diagnosable mental health disorder. Today, he is mining his personal struggles to help others, volunteering at a mental health drop-in center in Sutter Creek.

Brown and Michele Curran, a contract worker, are able to help staff the center once a week thanks to grant funds from the Mental Health Services Act. The drop-in center is open every Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Behavioral Health Department in Sutter Creek. It’s a casual, friendly environment for anybody who has at any time experienced mental health concerns, Curran said. People who visit the center, where Brown provides resources, information, support and a listening ear, can ask questions, share their stories or listen to others.

In other words: There’s no pressure.

“It’s a common social setting,” Curran said. “People come and go (during the drop-in time) or stay the whole time.”

Nationwide, about 26.2 percent of Americans 18 and older – about one in four adults – suffer from some sort of diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health; this translates to about 57.7 million people when applied to 2004 U.S. Census data.

Mental disorders may include major depressive, bipolar, panic, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders, as well as schizophrenia and social phobia, among others. For more information, including a complete listing of mental disorders, their symptoms and treatment procedures, visit

The drop-in day at the Behavioral Health Department is not a therapy session, but rather a place where people can exchange information, find support and begin the healing process, Curran and Brown said. It’s open to anyone 18 and over.

The service opened its doors to the public in the beginning of June and Brown said visitors have been trickling in. Some have even suggested activity ideas they’d like to see implemented in the future, such as the Wellness Recovery Action Planning program, currently in operation in Calaveras County. Curran said W.R.A.P., a program that helps participants organize wellness tools and turn them into action plans to deal with life issues and issues related to mental illness, will finds its way to Amador County in the near future.

The drop-in center and future W.R.A.P. program are both part of the grant’s first phase, as other programs and resources will be implemented in the future.

“I’m happy with our block of time,” Curran said. “We’re moving forward.”

Curran added that she has “this fantasy of a Taj Mahal respite place.”

The Mental Health Services Act, or MHSA, was made possible by the passage of Proposition 63 in November 2004. With the act came the opportunity for the California Department of Mental Health to provide increased funding, personnel and other resources “to support county mental health programs and monitor progress toward statewide goals for children, transition age youths, adults, older adults and families,” the department’s Web site states.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget, thus far, includes $5 billion for the Department of Mental Health in 2008-09, which is an increase of $144.4 million from the revised 2007-08 budget and an increase of $159.4 million from the Budget Act of 2007, according to the governor’s Web site.

Terri Daly, the county’s administrative officer, said that it’s possible the state’s budget, which should be finalized sometime in the fall, may cut county social and mental health services.

Funds from MHSA will not be affected by the state’s finalized budget, according to George Sonsel, director of the Amador County Department of Behavioral Health. The county is scheduled to receive $1.8 million from the act over the next couple of years, Sonsel said.

For more information on the Amador County Behavioral Health Department or the drop-in center, call 223-6412 or The department is located at 10877 Conductor Boulevard in Sutter Creek and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Source: The Ledger-Dispatch


MHSA Goes Into Wider Implementation

From The California Department of Mental Health by Staff Writer, July 25, 2008

Based on reports from counties during the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2007-08, a total of Mental Health Services Act programs provided services to 212,592 people, including:

•140,619 were served by System Development services, such as peer support, education and advocacy, and mobile crisis;

•54,042 were served by Outreach and Engagement services, which help reach out to people who need but are not receiving services and support; and

•17,931 participated in Full Service Partnerships, which provide a broad range of mental health and other supports to help consumers and family members achieve life and mental health recovery goals. See page 3 for more information about people participating in Full Service Partnerships.

For more information, read the latest Progess Report.

Source: The California Department of Mental Health


Department of Mental Health Releases Five-Year Workforce Education and Training Development Plan

This document provides a vision, values and mission for Workforce Education and Training programs and activities, and will assist California in moving toward an integrated mental health service delivery system.


NAMI California Position Paper On The Mental Health Services Act



MHSAOAC Fast Facts 2010

The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission has released comprehensive updates on the implementation and status of the Mental Health Services Act. The report includes fast facts on outcomes, prevention and early intervention programs, projections of consequences if Prop. 63 funds are diverted by the Governor, cost-effectiveness of services, and new programs funded by the Act.

Click here to read the report.

Source: NAMI California


Interim MHSA Issue Resolution Process

The Interim MHSA Issue Resolution Process has been posted to the DMH website.