Mental Health Awareness month is a time to note that the emotional health of children is an integral part of overall health, as physical and mental health are intricately linked. Mental disorders affect as many as 1 in 5 U.S. children each year and are some of the most costly conditions to treat – mental health problems among young people under age 24 cost the U.S. an estimated $247 billion annually. Unfortunately, the majority of young people who need mental health treatment do not receive it, and mental health problems in childhood often have negative effects in adulthood.
The California Legislature has proposed several bills that address children’s mental health, from increased training and peer supports to early prevention and funding parity. Three current bills worth noting:
SB 1019: Youth mental health and substance use disorder services
This bill creates financial parity for children’s mental health and adult mental health funding. It requires at least half of all funds allocated to the Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission under the Investment in Mental Health Wellness Act of 2013 be used to expand mental health services for minors.