Mental health affects everyone. About half the population will experience a mental health concern during the course of their lifetime. Serious mental illness affects about four percent of adults in the United States — across all income, geographic and ethnic backgrounds. And the tragic consequences of untreated mental illness remain fresh in our minds. In San Joaquin County, over 15,000 children, youth and adults sought mental health treatment services last year — yet many more are still in need of services. And with the advent of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), a statewide initiative to expand services and supports available to those with mental illnesses, advanced treatment services are more accessible.
MHSA was a voter-approved initiative that established a 1 percent tax on incomes of over $1 million. Now, in its 10th year, the impact of MHSA in San Joaquin County is readily apparent. Mental health treatment services are now offered in Spanish and Cambodian and in diverse locations throughout the county, including:
- Psychiatric services at specialty clinics in Stockton, Lodi, Tracy and Manteca;
- K-12 school-based mental health services at local schools;
- Specialty treatment teams for youth receiving child welfare or juvenile justice interventions; and
- Mental health outreach and engagement services through over a dozen community-based organizations, including local homeless shelters.
By opening new programs in nontraditional locations and expanding the menu of treatment options, San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services (BHS) is opening more doors to mental health treatment. These services provide people with mental illness the opportunity to live safe, productive lives, staying off the streets and staying connected to their community. While there’s been good progress, many more doors to mental health treatment need to be opened.
In this publication, you’ll read stories of those who have found their own pathway to recovery and well-being. You'll also find resources for learning more about mental illness and how to connect to services for yourself or a loved one. Join BHS, and community partners and allies, in creating a healthier community for ourselves and for our children. Share these messages of hope and recovery with someone who you know is struggling and embrace the power of hope: that recovery is possible, that it’s OK to ask for help and support, and that mental health matters.
-Francis Hutchins, Interim Director