Mental Health Services Act: Mental Health Issues in California

Topics: Health care, Mental health, Medicine Pages: 6 (1916 words) Published: October 14, 2013
The state of California for a long time has been facing enormous problems due to the growing number of people with mental health issues. Almost every family is touched by the issue of mental health. In California, either someone from the family suffers from mental health issues, or someone very close to family does. The state of California therefore has to overcome tremendous spending to bear with the consequences of this growing number of mental health issues. As a result, the state came up with proposition known as proposition 63 aimed at helping California overcome the colossal charges that mental health imposed on the state’s budget. By November 2004, proposition 63 now called Mental Health Services Act or MHSA was voted and turned into a law by January 2005. The goal of this law was to help reduce the charges that the state has to bear due to the inefficiencies in how mental health is dealt with. Now that we are in 2011, which is seven year after proposition 63 was turned into a law, and investments occurred, it is certainly time to take a look at how effective this proposition was in helping California overcome the enormous spending caused by mental health issues. To evaluate this policy, a quasi-experimental study seems more accurate. The quasi-experimental method will help compare the condition of people pre-policy and post-policy for Californians between 2003 and 2009. As well as comparing those result with a similar state in demography and with mental health issues. The control state will be New York. It will also help see how the program has help California improve their health outcome. To do so, it will compare the indicators listed in the Mental Health Services Act before le law in 2003 and compare them to the same indicators measured in 2011. The difference in difference will be assumed to be the result of the implementation of the Mental Health Services Act. A more detail evaluation plan will be provided later in this document.

What is the problem?
The primary problem is that, in California, mental health is a serious issue and in order to find a solution to the growing issue that mentally ill people face, the state of California passed a law in January 2005 referred to as the Mental Health Services Act. This law is for people that are often dependent on public mental health system because they are unable to work or obtain private insurance, or lake sufficient income to obtain care through private mental health care providers (Health Affairs Vol 25, #3, 2006). Statistics show that 5 to 7% of adults and 5 to 9% have serious mental health in California, which implies that about 2 million California citizen are at risk contraction a disabling mental illness every single year. These people unfortunately do not qualify for a guaranty of care because they are not classified as disable by the state of California. Regrettably, failure to qualify for insurance coverage can put the families into deep financial problem. Paying for the necessary treatment is so costly that it destroys a lot of families and even leaves some people out in the streets deprived from their homes. In addition untreated mental illness can lead to depression and suicide. In fact, it is the leading cause of suicide and it imposes high spending on the state of California. Background information on the Act

In the 1970s, California started a deinstitutionalization movement, transferring care for people with mental illness away from state-operated hospitals and into community settings. The goal was to provide better care but many communities lacked the infrastructure and resources necessary to provide adequate care once people were released from hospitals. Money collected from reduced hospitalizations was not reinvested into other community mental health services. Therefore, many of those released from institutions did not succeed and thrive in the community. A good number became homeless and only received...

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