Transforming the Public Mental Health System: Guiding Principles for Workforce Development

By Dale Mueller.

Published by The International Journal of Community Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 10, 2014 $US5.00

The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) of 2004 was placed on the ballot in California by popular initiative. A 1% tax imposed on personal income for Californians whose personal income exceeded $1 million provided a designated and sustained funding source for reforms such as workforce development, cultural competence, and community collaboration. Reforms to be initiated by the state and local counties were to be according to guiding principles, including stakeholder involvement and cultural competence. According to the US Census, approximately 39% of Californians speak languages other than English, so stakeholder input has been critical to ensure cultural competence in delivery of services. Since 2004, a five-year plan has been completed, including workforce needs assessments, training programs for both professionals and lay individuals, and promises to serve in the public system. There have been attempts at diversion of funds and agency encroachment, yet progress has been steady. The second Five Year Plan for workforce education and training is now being discussed. Since the MHSA was a citizen-initiated measure, elements such as transparency, use of designated funds, and embedding of guiding principles have served to provide a unifying force for all stakeholders including vulnerable and traditionally underserved constituents. This paper discusses initiatives, planning and outcomes, and recommendations for the upcoming second Five Year Plan.

Keywords: Mental Health, Cultural Competence, Ballot

The International Journal of Community Diversity, Volume 14, Issue 1, January 2015, pp.13-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 159.341KB)).

Dr. Dale Mueller

Assistant Professor, College of Health, Human Services, and Nursing, School of Nursing, California State University, Upland, California, USA