MENTAL HEALTH: State Senate Approves Reform Committee
The California Senate approved Concurrent Resolution 59, sponsored by Senate leader John Burton (D-San Francisco), which creates the Joint Select Committee on Mental Health Reform. The Capitol Alert/Sacramento Bee reports that the 10-member committee will deliver a report to the state Legislature by May 1 concerning how to improve the state's mental health treatment availability and quality. Health advocates "long have argued that the state failed to fulfill its promise of adequate community mental health services for the numerous patients turned out of state hospitals decades ago and for those who subsequently have developed mental illnesses." Burton, who has made mental health "one of his top priorities for action this year," said, "Clearly, the fragmented mental health system we've got now, underfunded from day one, doesn't meet the needs of the half-million Californians currently enrolled in treatment programs or the thousands more who need treatment." In California, 50,000 homeless individuals have a severe mental illness and up to 15% of offenders in youth and adult correctional facilities suffer from mental illness (Henshaw, 1/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.