Truckee to receive mental health funding | SierraSun.com

Truckee to receive mental health funding

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

Behavioral health services in Nevada County have suffered from state budget cuts over the past 15 years, but a new special tax on California’s millionaires will boost mental health programs for the Truckee community.

Last Thursday over 50 Truckee residents gathered to discuss what mental health resources are missing in Truckee and where proposition 63 funds should go, said Rebecca Slade, children’s program manager for the Nevada County Behavioral Health Department.

Some suggestions made by Truckee residents for ways to support the mental health community included teen therapy groups, mental health education in local elementary schools, physician outreach to seniors, postpartum ” or depression after pregnancy ” screening and parent-child interactive therapy, Slade said.

Additionally, 100 percent of Tahoe Truckee ninth and 11th-grade students questioned in 2006 on the Healthy Kids Survey said they wanted more information on depression and suicide, according to the Nevada County Behavioral Health Department.

“At the meeting there was a fairly large youth participation and enthusiasm about the need for creating more mental health services,” said Glen Harelson, program manager for Health and Human Services in Truckee. “They’re very hopeful that programs, changes, and support can exist in Truckee to further services for our youth.”

Other meeting attendees included Latino community members, parents, school teachers, representatives from different recreation departments, and police officials, Slade said.

“Universally it seemed like people were most worried about the kids in the community,” she said.

In 2004, California voters passed proposition 63, or the Mental Health Services Act, which levied a 1 percent tax on state millionaires to fund programs that prevent, and provide early treatment for, mental illness, Slade said.

Once Nevada County submits a plan for the funds, the state will award the Prevention and Early Intervention Committee $525,200 over two years to provide innovative services.

After the two years is up, the department will continue to receive funding annually for mental health services, said Slade.

Substance abuse, a declining economy, seasonal depression, rural isolation and the financial pressures of supporting a family with Tahoe’s high cost of living and lower wages are all contributing factors to the region’s mental health problems, Harelson said.

“Behavioral health services are still lacking in funding, but the most important thing is with this funding, we will be able to provide more services to the mentally ill in our community,” Slade said.