Aimee Heaney, Mental Health Services Act coordinator for Plumas County Behavioral Health, hosts a MHSA stakeholder community meeting and dinner April 2 in the conference room at the Chester Wellness Center to elicit community input on MHSA services and programs. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Behavioral Health meets for feedback on programs

Aimee Heaney, Mental Health Services Act coordinator for Plumas County Behavioral Health, hosted a MHSA stakeholder community meeting and dinner April 2 in the conference room at the Chester Wellness Center to elicit community input on MHSA services and programs.

A large turnout of interested community members and retirees were in attendance at the gathering, including representatives from Seneca Healthcare District, Behavioral Health Commission members, Chester Wellness Center employees, local teachers, Lake Almanor Area Chamber board members, along with mental health professionals and other stakeholders.

The Mental Health Services Act is funded through a “millionaire tax” and has helped local mental health plans expand services by providing California counties with billions of dollars in state funding since 2004.

The purpose of MHSA funding, also known as Proposition 63, is to ensure that California’s 58 counties are able to provide quality mental healthcare services statewide to support underserved populations living with serious mental illness (SMI).

State regulations require that county Behavioral Health departments present the Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan and Annual Updates to county residents through the Community Planning Process.

The MHSA Community Planning Process consists of a series of community meetings countywide, outreach events, focus groups, and stakeholder surveying to help Plumas County Behavioral Health identify gaps in the delivery of services and find solutions through community partnerships.

These activities and programs are described in the Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan and its corresponding Annual Updates.

Meetings are held as educational opportunities on local programming and as progress reports to the public on efforts by Behavioral Health to expand and improve specialty mental health services to Plumas County residents through MHSA services and supports.

MHSA includes various program components that range from direct services and supports to clients living with a serious mental illness, prevention and early intervention programming, Innovation  projects, to Workforce Education and Training  and Capital Facilities/Technology Needs.

During her presentation, Heaney provided information to attendees on Plumas County Behavioral Health’s three-year plan and annual updates.

Major goals identified by Plumas County Behavioral Health are to support clients in their recovery and to improve stability and functioning through treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders, supporting programming that will reduce suicide risk, isolation and depression in vulnerable populations, such as students, veterans, and seniors.

The plan and its annual updates have a link on the Plumas County Behavioral Health website: www.countyofplumas.com/index.aspx?nid=2503 for detailed information. The current draft Annual Update will be posted and disseminated to the public for comment in early May 2019.

Heaney said the completed update would be posted for 30-day public comment and will include narratives of any changes to funded programs or any new services and programs. Your comments and ideas will inform changes in the MHSA Annual Update to the current Plumas County Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan.

Heaney added that she is happy to meet with small groups and community organizations to discuss how to identify gaps and to improve services provided by Behavioral Health. She can be contacted at 283-6307 ext. 1016, or send an email to: [email protected]

MHSA reports are presented to the Behavioral Health Commission, and they recommend these to the Plumas County board of supervisors for approval.

The BH Commission meets the first Wednesday of each month in Quincy at the library and meetings are open to the public.

2019 Community Mental Health Priorities

Survey responses indicating importance in the following areas:

– Increased school-based services.

– Improve access to services for children and their families.

– Peer employment and housing.

– Family respite.

– LGBTQ groups/events.

– Additional trauma-focused services.

– Increased outreach for family involvement.

– Full-Service partnership – Housing for couples/families.

– Mental Health coaches (peer support).

– Additional telemedicine services.

– Homeless shelter.

– Mental Health training.

– Increased funding for Criminal Justice programs.

– Employment assistance, supportive employment for clients.

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