Full Statement from NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison, Jr.:
“The effect of racism and racial trauma on mental health is real and cannot be ignored. The disparity in access to mental health care in communities of color cannot be ignored. The inequality and lack of cultural competency in mental health treatment cannot be ignored.
“Our nation’s African American community is going through an extremely painful experience, pain that has been inflicted upon this community repeatedly throughout history and is magnified by mass media and repeated deaths. We stand with all the families, friends and communities who have lost loved ones senselessly due to racism. And, with more than 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus pandemic – disproportionately from minority communities – these recent deaths add gasoline to the fire of injustice.
“While there is much we need to do to address racism in our country, we must not forget the importance of mental health as we do so. Racism is a public health crisis.
“As the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, it is our responsibility to serve all. While as an organization we are still early in our intentional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion journey and have much to do, we have renewed our commitment to our values. We continue to strive to deliver help and hope to all who need it.
“NAMI stands in solidarity with everyone impacted across the country. You are not alone.”
We are pleased to announce a community listening session, hosted by NAMI California and the Department of Health Care Services, focused on the state’s response to COVID-19 and efforts to support our communities. Family members and peers will be invited to discuss and share feedback as part of our continuing work to link local and state level efforts.
Like everything else, California’s economy has been impacted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Gavin Newsom’s May Revision to the state budget for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2121) projects a shortfall of more than $50 billion. To fill the gap, the Governor proposes multiple strategies that range from program cuts and requesting more federal assistance, to using the state’s “rainy day” reserves. The state legislature is holding public hearings on the Governor’s proposals and must pass a final state budget by July 1, 2020. A few of the highlights:
Reduction in county funding: Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) revenues are projected to be $600 million less in 2020-21, falling from $2.3 billion in the current year to $1.7 billion.
New funding for COVID-19 impacts: Newsom proposes giving $450 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to cities and $1.3 billion to counties to address homelessness, public health, behavioral health, public safety, rental subsidies, and other services to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delays to programs: The DHCS “Medi-Cal Healthier California for All” Initiative (CalAIM) and Behavioral Health Quality Improvement and Behavioral Health Integration programs are stalled.
Modified or eliminated services: Medi-Cal services
Plans postponed: Trainings, plans to reform the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), increase SSI funding and more plans are postponed.
Reforms to state prison and local public safety systems: mental health services for parolees are among those reforms eliminated.