Report on Mental Health Ranks California 24th

A new report on the state of mental health in the country ranked California 24th among the states when it comes to the rate of mental illness, and 30th when it comes to access to care.

Based on the report from Mental Health America, Californians with mental illness are not getting the help they need.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg finds that disheartening. He says we still have a lot more work to do to make mental healthcare a top tier priority.

"Mental health is linked to most everything we care about and spend a lot of money on the back end to try to resolve and not always very effectively," said Steinberg.

Steinberg has been a relentless advocate for mental healthcare, especially when it comes to Sacramento's homelessness problem.

"We are working very, very hard to address the homeless crisis and we will continue to do so," said Steinberg. "Much of that was the result of untreated mental health issues."

California spends about $2 billion a year in Proposition 63 funds for mental health services. Steinberg says only 20% of the funding go towards prevention and early intervention.

"The only way to end the cycle of homelessness, of incarceration, of dysfunction and lifetimes of unemployment and disconnection, that so many people who have suffered consequences as a result of untreated mental illness suffer, is to intervene early with people," said Steinberg.

In a 5-year period, rates of severe youth depression have increased. According to the report, 50% of those age 11-17 often think about suicide or self-harm throughout the week, and over 76% of youth with severe depression – 1.7 million kids – did not get treatment they need.

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