Mercury News Questions Whether Report on Mentally Ill Youth will Prompt Action
While a Little Hoover Commission report on mental health care for children in California, released this month, found that "even when there's enough money," the state "fails to reach" more than half of the children in need, a San Jose Mercury News editorial questions whether the current report "will ... go the way of its predecessor," a report released in November 2000 outlining the state's "failure to provide adequate mental health services for adults." Although the November report prompted several bills aimed at helping mentally ill adults receive care, the editorial notes that the legislation "fell victim to the energy crisis or the governor's blue pencil." The editorial says that while Assembly members Helen Thomson (D-Vacaville) and Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Don Perata (D-Oakland) "can be counted on" to introduce new legislation to expand mental health services, "they will be lonely voices unless they receive vocal support from mental health advocates, local and state officials and workers, and -- most important -- the community at large." Although "money will be tight" next year, the editorial says that the commission's report "makes it clear" that "leadership and accountability" could help mentally ill youth without spending any more state funds. The editorial concludes, "Hopeful signs are rare in the world of the mentally ill, and children are especially vulnerable when the system is broken. Legislative leadership, backed by public perseverance, is needed to break down what the commission rightly describes as 'insurmountable barriers' to care" (San Jose Mercury News, 10/25).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.