California’s mental health transformation passes the legislatur

By SDCN Editor 

Sacramento, CA–The California State Legislature passed two key bills to modernize its behavioral health care system to address the mental health crisis in the state.

With the passage of these two bills, California voters will decide in March 2024 whether to vote to modernize the mental health system. 

The bills dedicate billions of dollars to new behavioral health housing, create new accountability and transparency, and provide much-needed funding for key behavioral health infrastructure and workforce across the state, state officials said.

Senate Bill 326 modernizes the Mental Health Services Act to address the behavioral health system and demand for services. These reforms expand services to include treatment for those with substance use disorders, prioritize care for those with the most serious mental illness, provide ongoing resources for housing and workforce, and continue investments in prevention, early intervention, and innovative pilot programs. 

Assembly Bill 531 includes a $6.38 billion general obligation bond to build 10,000 new treatment beds and supportive housing units to help serve more than 100,000 people annually. The investment would be the single largest expansion of California’s behavioral health treatment and residential settings in our state’s history – creating new, dedicated housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness who have behavioral health needs, with a dedicated investment to serve veterans. 

Californians experiencing behavioral health conditions will have a place to stay while safely stabilizing, healing, and receiving ongoing support. Included in the bond is $1 billion set aside specifically for veterans’ housing.

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