During this Mental Illness Awareness Week, Matt Holzmann writes that we should all see ourselves as first responders when it comes to mental health, warning we can’t just leave public safety officers alone in dealing with mentally ill in our communities. Instead, Holzmann notes that education and early intervention are key to successful outcomes.
A contract dispute between Magellan Healthcare and CalOptima, the county’s health plan for low-income and elderly residents, may have left some of CalOptima’s 710,000 patients without mental health care when, for nine days in July, Magellan refused to process Medi-Cal payment claims.
The county Board of Supervisors this week approved plans to open a facility in Garden Grove that will treat patients, including children, who are experiencing mental health crisis. Scheduled to open in December, the facility will address the county’s acute shortage of psychiatric beds.
The state may shutter a 114-acre property that currently houses developmentally disabled adults. Homeless advocates, and a state senator, say the property should be re-purposed as a center for homeless people and others who need temporary housing and mental health services.
For years, local political leaders largely ignored Orange County’s severe shortage of psychiatric beds, which has contributed to, among other things, the current homelessness crisis. But they are beginning to direct their policymaking to the problem.