Sacramento To Expand Mental Health Services With $126 Million In Funding

By Victoria Kim 08/14/19

$126.1 million of state funding went unspent for some time, despite being earmarked for mental health services.

woman using mental health services in Sacramento
ID 97365611 © Katarzyna Bialasiewicz |

With $126.1 million to spend, Sacramento County officials approved a proposal this month to direct the funding toward expanding mental health services throughout the region.

According to The Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors outlined its plan to use the money to expand existing programs that specialize in helping people in need of mental health support.

Officials designated $5 million for crisis residential programs that provide a place to recover from acute mental health crises, $2.2 million for “mobile crisis support teams” responding to mental health calls, and $14 million for housing for the homeless.

Overwhelmed First Responders

Apparently the $126.1 million of state money went unspent for some time, despite being earmarked for mental health services and the fact that first responders and emergency rooms have been “overwhelmed” because of the lack of mental health services.

“We did find past staff was a little too conservative about programming multiple years out (saying) you can save it for a rainy day,” said Patrick Kennedy, chair of the board. “But you look outside and it’s a monsoon.”

In 2015, the county’s grand jury gave a “scathing” report criticizing behavioral health services in the region for providing less than adequate mental health care. According to Capital Public Radio, there were only about 400 psychiatric hospital beds in Sacramento in 2017.

The Plan

Officials are seeking to change that now.

The plan will also provide $10 million in funding toward community groups that address trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). This is a part of the county’s plan to support “smaller, grass-roots organizations that are doing great work in the community that can really use this money,” said Leslie Napper, who sits on the steering committee for the Sacramento County Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), which advises where MHSA funding goes.

The state will have $49 million of funding remaining by the end of 2021, the Bee reported.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr