Earlier this month, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) announced he has secured $9 million in federal funds for mental health services across the Central Valley. Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will receive $4 million. The Alliance for Community Wellness (La Familia) which spans Stanislaus, Alameda, and Merced counties will receive $5 million. The grants will be used to expand youth mental health programming in 17 school districts and at least 22 schools across the Valley, hire 12 new professionals in Turlock, serve 800 underserved individuals in Stanislaus County, and more. The grants were funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Community Mental Health Centers Grant program.
While 5.5 million Californians live with a mental health condition, less than half of them report receiving treatment in the last year. Nine million individuals in California alone live in a community with not enough mental health providers. During the pandemic, California’s children’s hospitals have seen a 35 percent increase in young people seeking emergency services for mental health conditions.
“More than half of folks with a mental health condition reported receiving no care at all last year. That means thousands of folks in our community: moms, dads, and kids alike, are struggling in silence right now,” said Rep. Harder. “These funds mean thousands of families in the Valley will finally be able to get the high quality, affordable treatment they need. And they mean we’ll have more professionals in our schools so our kids get the help they deserve. $9 million is a huge investment in Valley health and I’m so proud to be able to bring it back to everyone in our community.”
Stanislaus County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services will receive $4 million over the next three years to expand its Brief Intervention Counseling services which conduct early intervention for individuals experiencing mental health challenges. The program specifically focuses on the rural parts of Stanislaus County to further close mental health equity gaps for the underserved, the uninsured or underinsured, and minority communities, including Latino communities. The funding will allow the county to treat more than 800 new individuals over the next two years.
The Alliance for Community Wellness (La Familia) will receive $5 million over the next two years to hire new individuals and conduct new mental health programming in schools across the Valley. La Familia will use at least 22 school sites in 17 districts as the centralized hub for outreach, referral, screening, assessment, diagnosis, and service delivery for youth experiencing mental health challenges. This funding will specifically allow First Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center in Turlock to hire 12 new individuals: five full-time clinicians, one full time Office Administrator, one full time Promatora, one part time Promatora, one part time Clinical Supervisor, one Compliance Officer, one On-Call Clinician, and one part time Nurse Practitioner. The First Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center will also use the funds to support mental health awareness and educational campaigns in the Valley.
Harder has been working to deliver more health care providers, including mental health practitioners, since his first day in Congress. He has a bill backed by a bipartisan coalition of more than 60 of his colleagues that would bring 10,000 doctors to California over the next ten years.