• Nov

    Unlike any other state in the nation, California voters asked for an investment in mental health prevention and early intervention strategies when they passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, in 2004. So when the news media fails to present these evidence-based programs as legitimate investments, it demonstrates that this influential industry is out of touch with what Californians want, which is to give our state a chance to save lives.

    Critics who dismiss efforts to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health challenges ignore the facts: Intervening at the first sign of symptoms offers the best opportunity to make a significant, positive difference in both immediate and long-term outcomes for people affected by mental health issues.
    Yet studies show fewer than 30 percent of people with mental health challenges seek treatment. Fear of being labeled with a mental illness is a significant barrier that prevents people from seeking help.

    Far from being just “feel good” programs as some contend, stigma reduction efforts can save lives. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general has identified reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and treatment as a key priority for the nation in addressing the public health crisis of suicide.
    Of the individuals who die by suicide, 90 percent have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Too few connect with services that can change the course of their lives. On average, nine Californians die by suicide each day.

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