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10% of CA lawmakers became Behavioral Health Champions in 2019

10% of California state lawmakers became Behavioral Health Champions in 2019. For the number crunchers, that’s 12 of the 120 Senators and Assemblymembers.

  • Remind me: This summer, BHA started a series of in-depth interviews with lawmakers covering behavioral health policy, stigma and overall vision for California.

Every lawmaker we’ve spoken to – both Democrat and Republican – have agreed on three things:

  1. Telling personal stories destigmatizes behavioral health.
  2. California is in a crisis.
  3. We need solutions.

Some personal stories: 

  • State Treasurer Fiona Ma:My mother pretty much suffered from mental illness since as long as I can remember… We have learned a lot just caring for her and trying to understand what it’s like to have and suffer from mental illness.” 
  • Asm. Sharon Quirk-Silva: “I lost a brother this last October – hasn’t even been a year yet – who struggled with alcoholism and was in and out of being homeless.”

Where California stands: 

  • Asm. David Chiu: “I would say that in California, like many other states, we’ve been behind.”
  • Dr. Jim Wood: “These are not conditions that are easily treatable in the typical medical model.”

On solutions: 

  • Asm. Jim Frazier: “Rome wasn’t built in a day and we didn’t get here overnight, but we need to have a methodical plan.”
  • Sen. Brian Jones: “Whatever the solution is, none of us have figured it out. Let’s all work together.”
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