270335 California's statewide initiative to reduce mental health stigma and resulting discrimination

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 2:30 PM - 2:50 PM

Stephanie Welch, MSW , California Mental Health Services Authority, CalMHSA, Rancho Cordova, CA
This session examines the planning, implementation and initial outcomes of California's historic statewide effort to reduce mental health stigma and resulting discrimination. In 2004 California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) which supports strategies to build a mental health system of prevention, wellness and recovery and equity for California's diverse populations. It is well documented that the stigma associated with mental illness prevents people from seeking help. Stigma can also lead to discrimination at work or school, bullying or harassment, and even the denial of health coverage. Recognizing that the stigma associated with mental illness greatly impacts the quality and accessibility of services, the MHSA allocated $60 million in funds for a comprehensive statewide mental health stigma and discrimination reduction initiative. Specific strategies for the statewide effort were selected from the research-based California Strategic Plan to Reduce Stigma and Discrimination. There are four broad program areas being implemented through ten distinct programs. Programs include a networking consortium with consumer and family leaders to establish statewide visibility and ensure client driven messaging, social marketing strategies to increase public understanding of mental health, and capacity-building to develop strategies at the local level. All programs aim to provide the most effective strategies possible including trainings with curricula emphasizing inclusion of client participation and best practices material development that advances culturally relevant practices. Collectively these programs aim to foster permanent change in the public perception of mental illness and individual experience of stigma.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the purpose and intent of California’s stigma and discrimination reduction initiative. List the various statewide stigma and discrimination reduction programs that are funded by the Mental Health Services Act and administered by CalMHSA. Describe key activities undertaken by CalMHSA’s stigma and discrimination reduction contractors.

Keywords: Public Mental Health, Mental Health System

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Program Manager at the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). I have twelve years of experience in mental health policy analysis and advocacy, and hold an MSW from University of Southern California and a BA in Sociology, Law and Society from the University of California, Davis. I served as Associate Director, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) for the California Mental Health Directors Association (CMHDA).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.