Mental Health Services Act Achievements Highlighted on 5th Anniversary in Contra Costa
Proposition passed in 2004 has improved outcomes for many residents
Thursday, October 28, 2010
A county program that has brought an array of services to the mentally ill and helped transform the way services are delivered in Contra Costa will celebrate its fifth anniversary next week.
For five years, service providers in Contra Costa funded by the state Mental Health Services Act have improved outcomes and given new hope to individuals who can benefit from mental health prevention, early intervention, and more intensive services and supports. The Mental Health Division of Contra Costa Health Services will highlight the accomplishments, consumer stories, outcomes and lessons learned from the approximately 40 service providers in Contra Costa funded by the MHSA at a conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 3 at the Concord Crowne Plaza, 45 John Glenn Drive, Concord.
Concord resident Renee Taylor said her life changed the day she entered the "Bridges to Home" Program, a collaboration of agencies with Rubicon Program as the lead agency. Rubicon, as well as other "Bridges to Home" providers Anka Behavioral Health, Community Health for Asian Americans and Mental Health Consumer Concerns receive funds from MHSA. Taylor found herself at the program after being released from jail. She had sought out help years earlier, but a lack of housing and other services had made it difficult for her to stay up on medications and appointments.
At Bridges to Home, Taylor received housing assistance and job training in addition to mental health services, so she would have a stable environment to recover from her bouts of anxiety. "It's brought my life full circle," she said. "I'm now able to get the resources and support I need to control my anxiety, take care of myself and get a job."
Program Manager Sherry Bradley, who oversees the MHSA for Contra Costa Mental Health, said the act has helped transform mental health services with processes like full service partnerships, which wrap housing, employment and other services around a person to improve outcomes. Bradley said the recurrence of homelessness and arrest dropped by 91% and 79% respectively for people once they enrolled in a full service partnership.
"The Mental Health Services Act gave us the ability to provide services we hadn't been able to provide," Bradley said. "It has bolstered community programs and put a focus on prevention and early intervention, which builds resiliency and increases the chances of a successful recovery."
The MHSA Outcomes Event will highlight successes like Taylor and lessons learned from all programs and projects supported by the act. MHSA funds are administered by Contra Costa Mental Health, which also drafts plans for how the money will be spent. The MHSA was passed in 2004 and levies a 1% tax on people with a taxable annual income of more than $1 million.
Contra Costa's success is due in large part to the stakeholder-driven planning process, Bradley said. "Input from the community helps us understand what the need is and where to focus services," she said. For people like Taylor, the services are the difference between recovery and relapse.
"I see people on the sidewalk and think ‘That could be me,'" Taylor said. "If these services weren't there, it would be detrimental. I would be scared."
To find out more about the conference, visit www.cchealth.org/services/mental_health/prop63/
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