Behavioral health issues negatively affect most of us in some way. Our family members, our friends, and other members of our community face behavioral health problems on a daily basis. Behavioral health challenges are a serious and growing problem for our children and for California families. As a teacher of 30 years, I understand that it is increasingly more and important to identify these health challenges, and address them head-on.
The challenges of behavioral health exist beyond the problems of one individual. They impact the productivity of local businesses, and health care costs, impede the abilities of children to succeed in school, and lead to disruptions in families.
As a representative, it is important to provide the community with strong connections to behavioral health support services. It is also important to support individuals living with mental illnesses, and encourage them to seek help when they can. Further education regarding behavioral health issues will also help others in the community understand the difficulties of those affected by these health conditions.
Community connectedness and support is important to the long-term recovery of people living with mental illnesses. It is important to bring the community together in discussions to help identify the effects these issues have on our families, and help each other seek answers.
We must continue to promote awareness of the serious health challenges that are pervasive in the community. There are unfortunate social stigmas associated with behavioral health, and these stigmas are liable to hinder a person’s ability to seek help.
California should also do more to develop the emotional well-being of our youth. Ideally this education can extend beyond the classroom and into the everyday lives of people. School-based mental health programs can focus on promoting mental wellness, preventing mental health problems, and providing treatment.
I commit to behavioral health as a policy priority, because through the shaping of sound public policies we will garner community responses that will promote recovery and reduce the impact of behavioral health problems when they do occur. The focus of policy should be education, outreach of resources, and ensuring that needed treatments and services are available to those that need it the most.