Major Investments Proposed to Address Youth Behavioral Health
The Governor unveiled a $267.8 billion budget proposal May 14 that includes significant funding for schools to address behavioral health amid a mental health crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative: $4 billion to transform behavioral services for children and youth. The goal of this initiative is to better connect children and youth to behavioral health care through the creation of an online platform, investment in school-based services, and expanding the infrastructure for providing behavioral health care.
- Community Schools: $3 billion to support grants for up to 1,400 local educational agencies (more than 60 percent of local educational agencies statewide) to convert school campuses into full-service community schools, with mental health, family, and social services.
- Mental Health Student Services Act Partnership Grant Program: increases funding to $55 million to fund partnerships between county behavioral health departments and schools.
The Governor and his administration will now work with the state legislators over the next month to finalize the state budget. The legislature has until June 15 to vote on the budget bill.
SBHCs Should Be Central to Investments in Behavioral Health Services for Children & Youth
The California School-Based Health Alliance is thrilled by these investments and others proposed in the May Revise that advance health equity and justice. We are also engaged in advocacy to ensure school-based health centers are central to these proposed investments.
SBHCs are an ideal model for delivering behavioral health services in school settings for the following reasons:
- Students use SBHCs. One study found that students with access to SBHCs were 21 times more likely to visit SBHCs for mental health treatment than anywhere else.
- Unlike other school-based mental health providers, SBHCs provide integrated physical and behavioral health.
- SBHCs leverage Medi-Cal providers and coordinate care.
- SBHCs are effective at providing prevention and early intervention services.
- SBHCs increase equitable access to care. California SBHCs are predominantly located in schools where a majority of students are low income and students of color.