World Mental Health Day
Today is World Mental Health Day, a time to raise awareness about this issue. In California, nearly one in six adults experiences some sort of mental illness. While suicide hotlines have been around for years, we shouldn't wait until people are in crisis to help them.
I'm excited to announce the opening of the California Peer-Run Warm Line, a new statewide non-emergency mental health line that provides emotional support for residents not in crisis, but in need of assistance. That toll-free number is 1-855-845-7415 and is staffed most hours. The center is expected to be operating 24/7 by the end of the year.
Governor Newsom, Senator Scott Wiener and I secured $10.8 million from the state budget over three years to ramp up this program, which has served the Bay Area since 2014. This is a great investment because it can help save lives. Furthermore, peer-to-peer counseling can prevent more expensive emergency room visits, and the services can be more effective when someone who has gone through similar challenges is on the other end of the line.
The Warm Line complements all the other ways California is addressing its population's mental health needs. Many programs are operated at the county level, but funded by a portion of the state sales tax and the Proposition 63 millionaire's tax allocated through the state budget. I am especially proud of our Housing and Homelessness Package in this year's state budget, which includes a whole-person health initiative, incorporating comprehensive mental health services to help get people off the streets.
In addition to providing more financial resources, we must make progress in addressing other underlying problems. That's why I championed AB 512 this year, my bill to improve the cultural competency of mental health programs and ensure we are meeting the unique needs in communities of color.
I know there's still a lot of work to do to improve the mental health system, and I will continue to do what I can to ensure services are accessible by everyone.
Assemblymember, 19th District