Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)

On November 2, 2004, we made history!

California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act, Proposition 63, which provides mental health treatment, prevention and early intervention, education and training to Californians affected by mental illness.

With MHA-SF leading the local charge, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly (74%) supported the passage of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). MHSA became law on January 1, 2005. MHA-SF led the local campaign for the passage of the Mental Health Services Act and is now working to implement the MHSA in a way most beneficial to the San Francisco community. MHA-SF is working closely with local officials, service providers, consumers and family members to ensure that the voices of consumers and their families are heard, that the money is well spent, and that the people of San Francisco receive the quality of behavioral health services they deserve.

MHSA History

In 1968, when California closed its psychiatric hospitals, officials promised that funds saved would be directed to providing community-based care and treatment for those affected by mental illness. Unfortunately, this did not happen as promised and our community based mental health system continued to be under-funded. Additionally, during the 1980s, there were significant cuts to federal Medicaid (Medi-Cal) that further devastated the mental health system. As a result of these two major issues, tens of thousands of Californians have gone without much-needed mental health care. The consequences are far reaching: homelessness increased, needless incarcerations skyrocketed, and countless lives were affected by illnesses that could have been prevented.

Recognizing this broken promise and acknowledging the pressing need for better funded and accessible community-based behavioral health services, former California State Assembly member Darrell Steinberg along with mental health community partners from across the state, including the Mental Health Association in California, introduced Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA).

MHSA Funding Allocations

The MHSA is funded by a yearly 1% tax to incomes exceeding $1 million. It is expected to bring in close to a billion per year to county mental health systems. It is estimated that the tax generated $1.1 and 1.2 billion for 05/06 and is expected to generate between $1.2 and 1.3 billion for 06/07.

With that money, counties can offer mental health care to children and their families, transitional age youth, adults, and older adults. For the first years of funding, the law requires that the funding be allocated as follows.

Prevention and Early Intervention (20% of funding)

  • Supports the design of programs to prevent mental illnesses from becoming severe and disabling, with an emphasis on improving timely access to services for under-served populations.

Community Services and Support (CSS) (55% of funding)

  • The CSS are the programs, services, and strategies that are being identified by each county through its stakeholder process to serve unserved and under-served populations, with an emphasis on eliminating racial disparity.
  • Innovative Programs (5% of CSS funding)
  • The goal of this component is to develop and implement promising and proven practices designed to increase access to services by underserved groups, increase the quality of services and improve outcomes, and to promote interagency collaboration.

Education and Training (10% of funding)

  • This component will target workforce development programs to remedy the shortage of qualified individuals to provide services to address severe mental illnesses.

Capital and Information Technology (10% of funding)

  • This component will address the capital infrastructure needed to support implementation of the Community Services and Supports programs. It includes funding to improve or replace existing IT systems and for capital projects to meet program infrastructure needs.

After FY07-08, the law does not mandate that the funds be distributed as indicated above. Instead, the law mandates that the funding be distributed as follows:

Prevention and Early Intervention (20% of funding)

  • Supports the design of programs to prevent mental illnesses from becoming severe and disabling, with an emphasis on improving timely access to services for under-served populations.

Community Services and Support (CSS) (75% of funding)

  • The CSS are the programs, services, and strategies that are being identified by each county through its stakeholder process to serve unserved and under-served populations, with an emphasis on eliminating racial disparity.
  • This can include funds needed for capital projects to meet program infrastructure needs, including housing, technological needs, human resource needs, and a prudent reserve to ensure services do not have to be significantly reduced in years in which revenues are below the average of previous years. (not to exceed 20% of funding)

State Administration (5% of funding)

© Copyright 2012 - Mental Health Association of San Francisco | Sitemap |

An affiliate of national Mental Health America