Placer plans to win mental health funds | SierraSun.com

Placer plans to win mental health funds

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun

A special tax on California’s millionaires will soon be funding new and innovative mental health services.

And a Placer County group has asked the local community what mental health resources are missing in Tahoe.

“Go further upstream,” said Barbara Hopkins, program manager of the Sierra Family Services, who is involved in the county’s Tahoe group. “To where people may not even be having problems yet … and what are the things that we need to do to make this community healthy enough so that those issues can be addressed and people don’t go over the waterfall later along.”

California voters passed proposition 63 ” the Mental Health Services Act ” in 2004. The act levied a 1 percent tax on state millionaires to fund programs that prevent, and give early treatment for, mental illness.

Now a group of over 50 Placer County residents, called the Campaign for Community Wellness, is building a plan to submit to the state and secure their portion of the Proposition 63 funding.

Once Placer County submits their plan, the state will give the county between $700,000 and $1.2 million annually for prevention and early intervention services across the county.

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The Tahoe group is one of five groups within the steering committee assessing specific needs in the county. Other groups are looking at the Latino populations, the county’s youth and services needed to prevent suicide and depression.

The steering group will combine all five groups to present a final plan to the state.

North Tahoe residents and nonprofits attended a workshop on Monday at the Kings Beach Elementary School library where they brainstormed strategies to improve the community’s mental health.

The attendees identified at-risk populations and discussed ways to catch slipping mental health before it becomes a larger issue.

The workgroup leaders will review what came out of Monday’s meeting and identify the themes. From there, they will submit a plan outlining what additional services Tahoe needs to the committee.