Our Behavioral Health Champion interview series continues with former Asm. Jim Frazier. He got his start in local politics after losing his oldest daughter in a tragic car crash.
Channeling his grief: “After we had changed the road and the road was actually named after my daughter, the Stephanie Marie Frazier Memorial Highway, we noticed a significant drop … Well significant zero fatality or injury rate. So seeing that we were, myself and my family, were fairly successful in getting something done and accomplished, it gave me some kind of incentive to get civically involved.”
Elevating the issue: “I don’t know that [California is] on the wrong track, but I don’t think it’s been prioritized as an issue. I mean, if you look at all of the different priorities that California has, I mean, it should be elevated to a very important level. But I think that as you know, the more vocal you are in the legislature or with support from associations, the better off you are. It starts with lobbying up here with the offices and making sure that they know that it has legs and it can get done. Obviously, if you can provide an outcome with an effort, then people are really satisfied.”
California needs a plan: “I think that it just needs to be a plan over a period of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we didn’t get here overnight, but we need to have a methodical plan.”
The importance of schools: “Well, basically, we don’t have the school psychologist anymore. They’re really relegated to the [intellectual development disorder] population through the special needs. The counselors that you and I used to have in school now are for college path or guidance counselors for college. Those tweeners who aren’t getting any kind of help whatsoever, those are the ones that we need to capture and re-engage about how we can better serve them. Because we have an expectation, we send them to school, that’s just a learning institution. That’s not correct. It’s a holistic whole health situation and their mental health is just important as their education.”