CNMHC News Alert, January 2004
At the statewide California Network of Mental Health Clients Membership Meeting held on December 7 in Los Angeles, the membership passed the following Resolution. The Membership also voted that passage of the Mental Health Initiative Act shall be the top public policy priority for the upcoming year.
Resolved that the California Network of Mental Health Clients supports the Mental Health Initiative Act.
Following are some of the reasons for the support:
The act will expand community services to most people who want them.
These "services include outreach, medical care, short and long-term housing, prescription drugs, vocational training, self-help and social rehabilitation" - an array of services that address the real-life needs of people with mental disabilities.
The act expressly promotes recovery, consumer-operated services, and programs that reflect the cultural, ethnic and racial diversity of mental health clients.
The act promotes clients working in the mental health system as well as inclusion of clients and their experiences in work force, training and educational programs.
The act promotes innovative programs by setting aside special funds for innovation. This would benefit the development of self-help services which are viewed as emerging best practices.
CALL FOR ACTION
Organize in your local area.
Get trained and gather signatures. Use this signature gathering campaign to register voters. The Mental Health Services Act needs 375,000 valid signatures of registered voters to qualify for the November 2004 Election. Given the predicted percentage of invalid signatures, this means 575,000 signatures. There is a volunteer signature drive in counties throughout California. Join it. The Mental Health Services Act needs your help to make it a reality.
For information on how you can get involved, get petitions, who the contact person/agency is in your county, where trainings and mobilizations are being held, etc, contact:
Mental Health Services Act/Campaign for Mental Health Web Site: www.campaignformentalhealth.org Read the full Act on this Web Page
Why You Should Get Involved
Client Friendly Components of the Mental Health Services Act
Expands AB 34/2034 services to a very large group of people.
From the Campaign for Mental Health literature, "The Initiative primarily takes the Adult System of Care commonly known as the AB 34/2034 programs from the "pilot program" status serving a very limited number of people to (subject to the availability of funds) serving everyone who suffers from a severe mental illness and needs that level of care." "Services include outreach, medical care, short and long term housing, prescription drugs, vocational training, and self help and social rehabilitation."
Support is for Voluntary Services
Cross references in the Initiative cite that services must be voluntary. For example, "The client should be fully informed and volunteer for all treatment provided, unless danger to self or others or grave disability requires temporary involuntary treatment." #5801 W&I Code cross referenced in the Initiative. This Initiative can not be used for AB 1421 type involuntary outpatient commitment. The availability of respectful voluntary services will dramatically reduce the use of forced treatment.
Includes Self-Help Philosophy in Value Statement and Promotes Self Help Programs
Section 7, 5813.5 (d) of the Mental Health Services Act reads:
(d) Planning for services shall be consistent with the philosophy, principles and practices of the Recovery Vision for mental health consumers.
There was a minor language change in AB 34/2034 law this year that elevates self-help support and programs to a more equal level with other required services. This law stipulates the array of services cross referenced in the Initiative.
Includes Clients in Employment in Mental Health System and Training Those Who Will Be So Employed
5822 (g) Promotion of employment of mental health consumers and family members in the mental health system;
Allocates a proportion of funding for Innovative Programs
This encourages emerging "best practices" such as self-help programs and new ideas to be developed. Providing resources for risk taking and new approaches challenges "traditional" systems and helps prevent the entrenchment of services.
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