Placer County adopts new three-year plan for mental health services

Published July 11, 2023

The Placer County Board of Supervisors today adopted a new three-year plan shaping mental health services through 2026. Developed over the last year with input from more than 700 residents, the plan lays out how Placer’s allocation of state mental health funding will be used to support existing and new programming for the county’s growing population.

California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act, or Proposition 63, in November 2004. MHSA places a 1% tax on personal incomes over $1 million. Counties receive funds through the state with the goal of enhancing the public mental health system to better serve the community. While funding fluctuates, Placer County averages nearly $16 million in MHSA funding annually to serve people with mental illness. The new three-year MHSA plan was developed with input from community members and providers, including representatives from the local Campaign for Community Wellness.

“We appreciate all the work that’s gone into this plan from our partners and community and believe it will help close gaps in our mental health system to better serve our most vulnerable residents and communities,” said Amy Ellis, county behavioral health director. “The plan prioritizes individual- and family-driven participation in treatment, community collaboration and innovation.”

The three-year plan focuses the bulk of MHSA funding, 76%, on treatment and recovery services that serve more than 3,400 residents annually, including Full-Service Partnership programs that provide wraparound support to clients, many of whom have serious mental illness. These programs have demonstrated success: a 44% reduction in psychiatric hospitalizations, 45% reduction in incarcerations and 29% reduction in rates of homelessness for clients enrolled at least two years. The plan includes additional funding directed towards prevention and early intervention services; innovation; training and other key priorities, all with a focus on measurable outcomes.

The plan will bring several new mental health programs onboard for Placer residents:

  • Two new peer outreach workers who will work with the existing homeless liaison team;
  • A new prevention coordinator working for Placer County Health and Human Services who will develop outreach and education related to substance use and mental health;
  • A preventative coaching program for young adults called Revive to Thrive;
  • Be WELL, a work-based program to empower teens and young adults through community projects and volunteering along with education and services; and
  • Parent Empowerment Group, providing mentoring services for parents whose children have recently been detained by child welfare to support the reunification process.

MHSA will continue to fund many existing services as well, and will expand a handful of successful programs, many serving youth and young adults. This includes expanded wraparound services for youth needing intensive mental health supports, expanded wellness centers and social workers in the Tahoe/Truckee area, and additional behavioral health strategies for schools.

“I am pleased to see this three-year MHSA plan again demonstrates continuous improvement in the community planning process and in the many partnerships between constituents and stakeholders in behavioral health services and programs in Placer County,” said Claire Buckley, who sits on both the CCW leadership team and on the county’s Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board. “It is important that we all have a voice in these programs and that we speak for those who do not.”