Mental Health Wage Data Bill Passes Senate Health Committee

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sacramento – Assembly Bill 462 authored by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D- Richmond) allows the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) to assess resources that are geared to reducing unemployment as part of the Mental Health Act. AB 462 passed the Senate Health Committee this afternoon with unanimous bipartisan support.

“AB 462 takes the first step to ensure the state can provide the technical assistance and guidance needed to help our community mental health partners understand whether and how mental health consumers are moving into employment opportunities and how we can enhance the quality of care we provide to improve employment outcomes,” said Thurmond.

According to a 2014 report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 90 percent of adults served by California's public mental health system are unemployed.  Yet employment is widely recognized as an important goal for recovery, as it facilitates independence, financial support to cover housing, transportation and related needs and can lead to self-sufficiency.

California's Mental Health Services Act, passed by voters in 2004, established the MHSOAC to promote transformational change for California's mental health system and to develop the tools and strategies needed to ensure oversight and accountability.  Among other goals, the Act identified reducing unemployment as a key goal for mental health services.

Under existing law, Employment Development Department (EDD) collects data on employment and unemployment, but access to employment-related data is limited to purposes specifically related to reducing unemployment or to meet other, specific public needs as outlined in the law. 

This bill allows the MHSOAC to receive employment information held by the California EDD to evaluate the effectiveness of services that are designed to lead people within the mental health system into employment opportunities.

The United Advocates for Children and Families, CA Association of Veteran Service Agencies, California Mental Health Planning Council, Mental Health America of California, and CAFWD are in support of this bill. Mental Health Service Oversight and Accountability Commission is the sponsor of this bill.

Assemblymember Tony Thurmond represents the 15th Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, San Pablo, Tara Hills, and a portion of Oakland.