California Bill Seeks to Create Mental Health Drop-in Centers for Children

The mental health of children in California is in crisis. A 2018 reportfrom the California Health Care Foundation noted that an increasing number of teens in the state suffer from major depression. According to the report, in 2015, 1 in 9 teenage girls attempted suicide. The problem is compounded by the fact that people in their teens and early twenties are less likely to receive mental health treatment than other groups. A new bill introduced in the California legislature hopes to provide some help with this crisis.

Senate Bill 12

Senate Bill 12, introduced by Democratic Senators Jim Beall and Anthony Portantino, seeks to create 100 youth drop-in centers across the state that can help support young people with mental health, substance abuse, and physical health issues. The centers would be created under a new initiative called the Integrated Youth Mental Health Program and would provide one-stop support to youth ages 12 to 25 who are too embarrassed or unable to seek help in a traditional school or medical setting.

The drop-in centers would be designed in a way that would be inviting to teens and young people. They would provide mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as educational and vocational support and peer mentoring. The initiative is modeled after similar programs found in Australia and Canada and would be the first of its kind in the United States.

The bill requests $200 million in the budget to fund the centers. These funds could be combined with additional funds from the federal government. Senator Beall also introduced a bill to increase mental health services in California schools. However, not all young people want help from their school, or are not in school, so in the drop-in centers are important.

The Importance of Mental Health Treatment

Mental health issues are likely to first present themselves in people who are in their late teens and early twenties. This is an essential time to link young people with mental health services. Addressing and treating these concerns early can help prevent issues from escalating and becoming more difficult to treat later in life.

If you or a loved one has a mental disability and has been arrested or convicted of a crime, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Elizabeth Kelley specializes in representing individuals with mental disabilities. To schedule a consultation call (509) 991-7058.

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