Aimee Heaney, center, Mental Health Services Act coordinator for Plumas County Behavioral Health, officiated a MHSA stakeholder community meeting Nov. 7, (the second meeting of the year in Chester) inside the Chester Wellness Center conference room, where she interacts with attendees, asking for their input on MHSA services and programs. Photo by Stacy Fisher

Community planning process seeks to improve mental health services

Representatives from Seneca Healthcare District, Behavioral Health Commission members, Chester Wellness Center employees and other mental health professionals attended the 2019-2020 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) public meeting Nov. 7 inside the Chester Wellness Center’s conference room.

Through community partnerships, the MHSA Community Planning Process consists of a series of countywide outreach events, focus groups, and stakeholder surveys to help Plumas County Behavioral Health identify gaps in the delivery of services and find effective solutions where such gaps exist.

MHSA funding comes from a ballot initiative — Proposition 63 — passed by California voters in 2004 to help local mental health plans expand services by providing California’s 58 counties with billions of dollars in state funding.

These resources ensure quality mental health care services statewide to support individuals in underserved populations living with serious mental illness.


Aimee Heaney, Mental Health Services Act coordinator for Plumas County Behavioral Health, officiated the gathering of community members to elicit feedback on MHSA services and programs.

She noted that meetings are held once or twice a year as an opportunity for county residents to learn how Behavioral Health is working to improve specialty mental health services through MHSA support systems, as well as to provide progress reports to the public.

Behavioral Health is required by state regulations to provide a Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan and corresponding Annual Updates through the Community Planning Process.

During the meeting, Heaney used a slide presentation while discussing various topics that included Client Centric and Family Involvement, Introduction to Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, Hope, Wellness and Recovery, Telemedicine, Mental Health Training, Community Collaboration and Integrated Service Delivery, along with some give-and-take on early intervention, stigma and discrimination reduction, and access to services for children and their families by finding transportation to and from appointments.


Heaney encouraged attendees to offer input, with a number of those in attendance providing suggestions throughout the meeting. She said she also asks the community-at-large about how MHSA can continue improving its services and accountability to the public.

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

Behavioral Health identifies as its major goals programs that support clients in their recovery by improving stability and functioning through treatment of mental illness and substance use disorders.

In addition, the agency supports programming that reduces suicide risk and depression in vulnerable populations such as students, veterans and seniors.

During her one-hour presentation, Heaney said MHSA recognized the importance of family members in their efforts to help with recovery, remission and care of clients.

Heaney also mentioned the critical need in the county for rentals that could be made available to house clients who are in recovery or are homeless.


She conveyed to the audience members that the latest Behavioral Health’s Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan and Annual Updates would become available in mid-March of 2020 after consolidating feedback from the community.

The link for detailed information would then be posted online at: for a 30-day public comment period and will include narratives of any changes to services and programs.

Hardcopies of the report would also be available at the various Plumas County Wellness Centers she added.

Heaney said that she is happy to meet with small groups and community organizations to talk about how to identify ways to improve services provided by Behavioral Health.

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

The Behavioral Health Commission meets the first Wednesday of each month at the Quincy Branch Library in Quincy and is open to the public. Lunch is provided.


For information and to arrange a meeting, contact Aimee Heaney at 283-6307 ext. 1016, or send an email to: [email protected].