California unveiled a $4.7 billion plan to transform kids’ mental health by boosting coverage options, service availability, and public awareness.
According to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, the Master Plan for Kid’s Mental Health aims to bolster access to mental health and substance abuse supports so that all children and youth are routinely assessed, supported, and served. The plan will increase services throughout the state to meet kids and youth at schools, online, in primary care facilities, and more.
“California is stepping up to tackle the mental health crisis facing kids across the country. We’re overhauling our mental health system with an unprecedented all-of-the-above approach to connect families with the care and support their kids need to grow up healthier and stronger.”
Newsom also signed Assembly Bill 2508, written by Assemblymember Sharron Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) to better define the role of school councilors that recognize the importance of access to mental health.
“Mental and behavioral health is one of the greatest challenges of our time. As other states take away resources to support kids’ mental health, California is doubling down with the most significant overhaul of our mental health system in state history,” Newsom said
Three key pillars are outlined under the Master Plan for Kid’s Mental Health, which focuses on the healthy minds of California kids, rebuilding the state’s mental health systems, and developing a mental health workforce.
Newsom’s plan includes the Children’s Mental Health Resources Hub, offering kids and parents a central hub for a variety of resources, including several support hotlines, CalHOPE, and Informational guides on suicide and depression warning signs. The plan provides funding to schools across the state to offer social-emotional support services for students with a dedicated social-emotional support staff made up of psychologists, social workers, and welfare specialists.
Medi-cal coverage will be provided for parent-child services and destigmatize health support for children.
The state aims to hire, train and engage 40,000 new mental health workers, and remote access to services and training for teachers. Newsom’s announcement comes after the state Superintendent Tony Thurmond secures $20,000 grants for 10,000 School Councilers and launched a campaign to recruit student mental health support.
According to Newsom’s office, about one-third of 7th and 9th graders and half of the 11th graders experienced chronic sadness in the 2020-2021 school year. It is also estimated that 1 in 10 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 suffered from at least one major depressive episode in the last year, and suicide rates among California youth ages 10 to 18 increased by 20 percent. From 2019 to 2020.
Read the full Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health here.
If you or a friend or loved one is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org/.