Category Archives: Mental Health Services Act

Understand Intersectionality and Mental Health | #Share4MH

💭 Did you know? Communities of color with mental health conditions are less likely to receive mental health services than their white counterparts. Swipe through for some fast facts. 

When discussing mental health, we need to inform from an equity lens so that all our communities can thrive. Keep the conversation going, and share one of your cultural wellness practices.  

To access the graphics in English and Spanish visit our social media page here.

Visit to learn more and to get involved.

For our full list of free and public events and mental health resources, visit 

5/4- MHSA Three-Year Plan Presentation – MHSA Steering Committee

MHSA Steering Committee – MHSA Three-Year Plan

MHSA Steering Committee meetings are open to the public to provide input, make recommendations and stay up-to-date on all things MHSA.   The next meeting will be focused on presenting the MHSA 3-Year Plan recommendations. Meeting materials will be posted on the MHSA website at least 72 hours prior to the meeting, under the “Announcements” tab.

Thursday, May 4, 2023 (Hybrid Meeting)
3:00 pm – 5:00 pm 

  • Location (directions): College of San Mateo, 1700 W. Hillsdale Blvd., College Center, Bldg 10, Rm 468 
  • Parking: Any visitor or student parking lot is free (do not park in staff lots). Lot G is closest or parking lots F, H, J, and K.
  • Zoom: 
  • Dial in: +1 669 900 6833 / Meetingg ID: 892 2421 4146

To learn more about MHSA visit

Modernizing the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)  

On March 19th, Governor Newsom unveiled a new plan to re-envision behavioral health system investments to address homelessness and focus services on individuals living with the most severe behavioral health conditions. Current available information on the Governor’s plan can be found here:  One of the three priorities of this plan, is the “Modernizing of MHSA” and includes proposals to:  

1) Update the current MHSA funding allocation or components – the plan proposes to allocate MHSA funding to three new components: 30% to housing, 35% to Full Service Partnerships, and 35% to all other MHSA services (e.g., workforce strategies, prevention and early intervention, systems development efforts, etc.) with a focus on on-site services to students; workforce development, recruitment and retention; and the inclusion of substance use disorders as a target population – currently the MHSA targets co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. 

2) Add fiscal accountability measures – the plan focuses on the maximizing of Medi-Cal for reimbursable services and MHSA being the “last dollar spent” and on broader regional community planning processes. 

3) Restructure the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) – the MHSOAC is proposed to be moved under the California Health and Human Services Agency to support increased cross-sector collaboration and a focus on outcomes.  The MHSOAC was originally created to provide oversight of the MHSA.  The Governor’s plan is likely to go on the November 2024 ballot and will take time to implement. California counties and local stakeholders have an opportunity to influence the details of the reform.  BHRS will be working closely with the California Behavioral Health Director’s Association (CBHDA) to ensure local stakeholder priorities are voiced and include the original intent of the MHSA as it relates to prevention and early intervention, cultural responsiveness and equitable access, system transformations and other core MHSA priorities. 

Written by Doris Estremera (she/her), Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Manager

Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Update + Modernizing of MHSA

MHSA Three-Year Plan 

MHSA has provided a dedicated funding to transform County behavioral health services for children, youth, transition-age youth, adults, older adults, and families by imposing a 1% tax on personal income over $1 million in California. MHSA legislation requires the development of a Three-Year Plan to identify priorities for funding mental health and substance use services, programming, infrastructure, workforce, and various other strategies. 

A Community Program Planning (CPP) process for the MHSA Three-Year Plan kicked off in the Fall 2022 with an MHSA Three-Year Plan Workgroup made up clients, family members, community-based agencies and community leaders.  This Workgroup provided input on the planning process to ensure inclusivity and accessibility, reviewed and advised on data needed to support a thorough a Needs Assessment phase, and supported opportunities for community input on strategies to address the needs during a Strategy Development phase.  Over 40 sources of data were reviewed and informed behavioral health needs, including a community survey distributed broadly.  Over 30 community input sessions were facilitated with local groups, vulnerable communities and collaboratives to identify priority programs, services, and strategies.  A summary of the strategy recommendations will be presented to the MHSA Steering Committee meeting scheduled for May 4, 2023, from 3-4:30pm.  This will be hybrid (in-person/online), open to the public.  For more information, visit the MHSA website,, and click on the “Announcements” tab.  

MHSA Innovations (INN) 

BHRS is excited to announce that four new MHSA INN projects proposed were approved by both the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and the state Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC).  The MHSA INN projects include the Adult Residential In-Home Support Element (ARISE), Mobile Behavioral Health Services for Farmworkers, Recovery Connection Drop-in Center, and Music Therapy for Asians and Asian Americans. More on these projects can be found in the Dececember BHRS Director’s Update. A Request for Proposal process was conducted and BHRS is currently selecting the providers for these new services, which we expect to start-up July 1, 2023.  Additionally, a previously approved MHSA INN project, the Pacific Islanders Organizing, Nurturing, and Empowering Everyone to Rise and Serve (PIONEERS) Program was recently awarded to HealthRIGHT 360’s Asian American Recovery Services (AARS) agency and is expected to also launch July 1st. The PIONEERS program will provide culturally relevant, behavioral health support for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders (NHPI) youth and young adults across San Mateo County. 

MHSA INN projects are 3 to 5-year pilot projects intended to develop new approaches and community-driven best practices in behavioral health care systems. INN funding has provided a means for BHRS to pilot new approaches to engaging and serving individuals living with behavioral health challenges such as, the San Mateo County Pride Center, Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) in the Adult System of Care, and the Kapwa Kultural Center & Cafe, a Filipina/x/o youth-focused social enterprise cafe in Daly City.

Written by Doris Estremera (she/her), Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Manager

BHRS Director’s Update – February 2023

 Please see the latest issue of the Director’s Update from BHRS Interim Director, Lisa Mancini. 

 Topics include:

  • County Health Kicks Off Epic Electronic Health Record Project
  • BHRS Names New Director – Dr. Jei Africa
  • STARS Award  Recognizes SEAL Program
  • George Culores Hall of Fame Award
  • Mental Health Services Act – Three-Year Plan
  • Congratulations – Women in County Government Recipient & Nominees
  • CalAIM Corner – Newsflash
  • Contractors’ Association Spotlight – Felton Institute: (re)MIND®, BEAM, and (re)MIND Alumni® – Early Psychosis Coordinated Specialty Care Continuum

Past issues can be found here.

9/14 – Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Community Input Meeting

Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander (NHPI) Community Input Session

September 14, 2022, 6pm

We are looking for input on Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Innovation approved funding to support the mental wellness of NHPI youth.  Join us in a discussion about the needs of NHPI youth in San Mateo County. Register here.

Please share with your networks.

For more information visit

Pride Center MHSA Project Outcomes

The San Mateo County Pride Center opened it’s doors in July 2016 as a Mental Health ServicesAct (MHSA) Innovation (INN)-approved five-year pilot project. Since then, the Pride Center has expanded the network of services available to the LGBTQ+ community, promoted visibility and belonging, and filled gaps in culturally responsive mental health treatment services.

According to the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission’s 2018 countywide survey of 546 LGBTQ+ residents and employees, fewer than half (43%) of adult respondents felt that their mental health care provider had the expertise to care for their needs. Among LGBTQ+ youth who responded to the survey, three-quarters (74%)
reported that they had considered harming themselves in the past 12 months, and two-thirds (65%) did not know where to access LGBTQ+ friendly health care.

The MHSA INN component allows counties to introduce and evaluate mental health approaches that have not been tried elsewhere, to develop new best practices. The San Mateo County Pride Center was developed as an INN project since the U.S. has no other model of a coordinated approach across mental health, social, and psychoeducational services for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Pride Center offers services in three components:

  1. Social and Community Activities: outreaches, engages, reduces isolation, educates, and provides support to high-risk LGBTQ+ individuals through peer-based models of wellness and recovery that include educational and stigma reduction activities.
  2. Clinical Services: provides mental health services focusing on individuals at high risk of, or with moderate to severe, mental health challenges.
  3. Resource Services and Training: serves as a hub for LGBTQ+ resources. Hosts trainings and events related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and on providing culturally affirmative services.

In FY 2020-21 alone:
• 3,000+ participants served through clinical, social, training, and drop-in services
• 169 unique individuals received clinical services
• 2,700 hours of clinical services were delivered
• 359 community members served across 10 different peer support groups
• 300+ LGBTQ+ older adults were regularly contacted via emails, calls, and support groups

Read more

Mental Health Services Act Updates

MHSA Steering Committee Meeting – February 3rd 

MHSA Steering Committee meetings are open to the public to provide input, make recommendations and stay up-to-date on new MHSA developments and ongoing programming. The next meeting is scheduled, see the flyer for more details.

MHSA Steering Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 3, 2022
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm 

New MHSA Innovation Workgroup

Help us develop an inclusive and supportive process for submitting, selecting and funding innovative ideas! 5% of MHSA funding must be allocated to new best practices in behavioral health services. The workgroup will meet once a month on Thursdays, February 17th, March 17th and April 21st from 3-4:30 PM. See the flyer for more details.

To join this workgroup, we ask that you:

  • Commit to attending all three (3) meetings listed above.
  • Complete a short Participant Survey. The workgroup will be limited to 10-12 individuals.


The 2021 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Steering Committee meetings are will now take place four times a year on the first Thursday in February, May, September and December from 3:00 -4:30 pm. MHSA meeting are open to the public to provide input, make recommendations and stay up-to-date on new MHSA developments and ongoing programming.

See the flyer and details below for the upcoming February meeting.

September 2nd
Time: 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Location: Remotely via a Zoom webinar

Join via Zoom:
Zoom Meeting link:
Dial in: +1 669 900 6833 / Meeting ID: 832 1620 9789

For more information on the meetings, please visit: Visit the the MHSA planning page to learn more about MHSA is being implemented in San Mateo County and to get involved.

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