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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom Details Vision and Prioritizes Behavioral Health Solutions During Historic Meeting

California will lead as a global model for behavioral health

SAN FRANCISCO – On Oct. 22,  the Behavioral Health Action coalition held an historic meeting with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, engaging him in an in-depth conversation about California’s behavioral health system. Newsom is the highest-ranking California official in state history to meet with such a diverse coalition of leaders with a specific focus on mental illness and substance use challenges.

“Facing California’s behavioral health challenges requires bold leadership, strategic vision and the political will to take action to bring the best and advanced forms of care to scale across the state,” Lt. Gov. Newsom said. “Many factors contribute to a person’s behavioral health and well-being. I’m committed to working with this coalition to demonstrate that California can and will lead, becoming a global model for solutions that improve the lives of people throughout our Golden State.”

Behavioral Health Action is a first-of-its-kind coalition, led by the California Hospital Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness California, with non-traditional partners — including individuals and families — including more than 50 statewide organizations representing education, labor, law enforcement, the court system, local government, business and health care and community providers.

“We applaud Lt. Gov. Newsom’s courage and commitment to finding solutions for behavioral health issues,” said Carmela Coyle, President and CEO of the California Hospital Association and Co-Chair of Behavioral Health Action. “The Lt. Governor’s passion for this issue is unrivaled, and his experience and leadership over the years give him deep insight into the challenges facing the existing system of care.”

More than 6 million people in our state live with a mental illness, and two of three won’t get the treatment they need. By 2020, mental illness and substance use disorders will surpass all physical diseases worldwide as major causes of disability.

“The Lt. Governor’s willingness to engage with Behavioral Health Action is extraordinary and a true reflection of the strength of this issue, the power of this coalition, and the Lt. Governor’s commitment and passion to being a transformational leader on behavioral health issues,” said Jessica Cruz, CEO of NAMI California and Co-Chair of Behavioral Health Action. “Working together, we can make generational change and become a global model.”

About Behavioral Health Action

The Behavioral Health Action Coalition is designed to drive awareness and educate policymakers and stakeholders about the need to make behavioral health a top priority in California. More information can be found at

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