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Behavioral Health Champion: Senator Pat Bates

This week’s #BehavioralHealthChampion is Senator Pat Bates. Her career started as a social worker in Los Angeles – so the issue of behavioral health is very close to her.

  • On prevention and early intervention: “When we look at someone who is admitted for mental health issues, it’s probably extremely important to ensure through the various tests we can now do, how’s the body working? What are all of the functions that affect you physically and mentally? How are those integrated? I think we’re on the right track, yet it costs money, right? It’s always about funding. If we fund it in the early stages, then maybe the cost at the later stages are dramatically reduced.
  • A bipartisan issue: “I think there’s a great opportunity. [Gov. Newsom’s] not of my party, but I think that this transcends partisanship frankly. This is an issue of people. It’s very, I’d say nonpartisan, bipartisan. I think we have people in our legislature, both sides, who have personal stories, if not for themselves and their families, for friends… The opportunity is there. Basically we’re looking pretty good on the funding side. Whatever the governor has in mind, I think he’s going to have pretty significant bipartisan support for that.”
  • Her family’s experience with behavioral health challenges: “I felt that I had failed to see some of the problems… especially with my sister who passed away. You’re very good at disguising the things that are driving you to these problems. I think that having more open discussions among family, that it isn’t something that’s taboo to say, “Gosh, Jane, you seem very depressed today. What’s the problem?” and not asking those questions. I think we’re more open to doing that now.”
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