Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an allocation of $4.7 billion to cope with mental health and substance abuse problems for the youth of California, the Modesto Bee reported.
The governor’s office called the funding, “the most significant, multi-year overhaul of our mental health system in state history.”
Data gathered by the governor’s office confirmed the COVID pandemic traumatized the youth of the nation and created an epidemic of mental health crises. A result was a rise in depression for young Californians up to age 25.
The Aug. 18 story also reported suicide rates among youth between 10 and 18 climbed 20% during COVID between the years of 2019 and 2020.
“(Over) the last two years, there has been a stacking of stress, the likes of which none of us could have conceived of. That stacking of stress comes from two years where we’ve neglected your mental health (and) where we’ve neglected investing in the subject that brings us here today,” said Newsom.
The Modesto Bee reported that the investment includes allocations for the following:
—Training and support for 40,000 new mental health professionals including loan forgiveness and tuition assistance for educational expenses related to the selected professions;
—$5 billion toward a Medi-Cal initiative to “better integrate” behavioral health services for low-income children; and
—Creation of a virtual platform to enlarge access to mental health services.
Newsom announced the record-setting investment at Fresno’s McLane High School. The school’s student social-emotional support services are thought to be a model for the rest of the state.
The governor praised Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson for making student mental health the district’s “top priority” after it invested an initial $38 million of the district’s own funding in mental health services.