Mental health windfall
Sutter-Yuba Mental Health Services soon will have $1.7 million to spend - and the bi-county agency wants your help deciding how to spend it.
The money will come from revenue collected under Proposition 63. Passed by the state's voters in November, the Mental Health Services Act provides a means by which counties can expand their mental health programs.
It includes a 1 percent tax on state residents who make at least $1 million. That money is to be used specifically for mental health services.
"It's to promote better mental health and wellness in our communities," said Donna Thompson, staff analyst with Sutter-Yuba Mental Health Services.
Thompson will help host six town hall meetings in the coming weeks. During the meetings, participants will brainstorm how to use the money to reach those in need, especially underserved segments of the population like the homeless and elderly.
"The $1.7 million sounds like a lot to me, but it's really not a lot of money," Thompson said. "So we'll be asking what would benefit the community most."
Planners are also searching for ways to integrate services throughout the mental health services systems.
Input provided at the town hall meetings will be used to create a three-year plan. Once a draft plan is completed, there will be a 30-day public comment period.
Sutter-Yuba Mental Health Services will consider the feedback collected during that time, and the plan will be presented to county supervisors.
Thompson said she hopes the plan is complete and ready for approval by January.
After the plan is implemented, it will be tweaked by considering the successes and failures that occurred during the first three-year plan's implementation.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Eve Hightower can be reached at 749-4724. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.