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Opinion: California taking aggressive steps to care for the mentally ill

According to DJ Jaffe, founder of the Mental Illness Policy Org,  which advocates for mandated outpatient treatment laws, California is “eliminating mental illness treatment.”

This, of course, will be a surprise to the tens of thousands of mental health providers in California. Millions of Californians currently receive treatment for their mental disorders, both in the private and public sector.

In fact, Californians wanted to make up for past deficiencies in funding their mental health services, so they passed a law in 2004 that set aside new money specifically to help fund treatment.

Jaffe claims the money isn’t going to the programs it was intended to fund. Should we take his word for it?

The easiest way to see whether Jaffe’s claims hold up are to look at the text of Proposition 63 itself, the law that Californians passed to increase spending on mental health services in the state. You’ll see in the 7 pages, the Proposition refers repeatedly to things like prevention and early intervention programs (things Jaffe complains about in his article).

A recent innovative approach, begun under Assembly Bill 34 in 1999, was recognized in 2003 as a model program by the President’s Commission on Mental Health. This program combines prevention services with a full range of integrated services to treat the whole person, with the goal of self-suf


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