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:
- Telling personal stories destigmatizes behavioral health.
- California is in a crisis.
- 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.”
- 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.”