Santa Clara County leaders declare mental health and substance abuse a public health crisis

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Ahead of the Santa Clara county’s board meeting on Tuesday, two rangers declare mental health and substance abuse as a public health crisis in the county.

Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Otto Lee created a recommendation for county employees to consider at Tuesday’s meeting, declaring mental health and substance abuse a county public health crisis to get much-needed attention To bring resources and support for the growing epidemic.

“In this state and in our country, the largest mental health facilities aren’t even care facilities, they are our prisons and prisons for nearly 30 percent of all incarcerated people who receive some level of treatment,” said Susan Ellenberg, Santa Clara district manager a press conference Monday.

“We have seen the effects of untreated mental illness and substance abuse in our communities for years, and these challenges have become even more acute since the beginning of the pandemic.”

At Monday’s press conference, Supervisor Ellenberg emphasized that despite continued investment and the launch of new programs, the county’s mental health and substance abuse services are overwhelmed by increasing demand and need for visual acuity.

The transfer aims to take three measures:

  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Declaration on a Public Health Crisis in Santa Clara County,
  • Identify actions across the county to respond to the crisis, with an emphasis on system-wide planning and working with partners across the community who will play a role in solving these long-term challenges
  • Coordinate scheme participants to develop short- and long-term strategies to address staff shortages in the treatment of mental health and substance use.

“As the third year of the pandemic begins, many of our neighbors are either in crisis or on the verge,” said supervisor Otto Lee.

“The urgency of this moment is immeasurable. With this referral, we’re putting a focus on two crises: mental health and substance abuse in Santa Clara County, and a labor shortage that is affecting the availability of care. ”

Santa Clara County, like other counties throughout California, has a joint responsibility with the state for providing behavioral health services to residents of the county who are Medi-Cal beneficiaries, uninsured, or diagnosed with severe mental illness.

According to the district, the Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) and its network of contract providers currently serve around 32,773 customers annually through adult, child and youth care systems.

BHSD has reported that it serves a significantly larger proportion of its Medi-Cal benefit recipients (6.2%) compared to other large counties that serve 4.4% average and the statewide benchmark of 4.9%.

Despite the higher level of service in the district, some beneficiaries remain unserved or underserved and receive benefits mainly through the district’s emergency and acute systems or while they are incarcerated.

Click here to tune in to Tuesday’s county board meeting.

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