The state tax on millionaires has proved to be beneficial for several mental health programs in California’s Los Angeles County. The use of tax money has helped lower rates of imprisonment, hospitalization and homelessness, said a new report released by the Rand Corporation on March 13, 2018. “Our results are encouraging about the impact these programs are having. Overall we are seeing that these services are reaching a vulnerable population that needs them,” said J. Scott Ashwood, one of the authors and an associate policy researcher at the Rand.
The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) or Proposition 63, which was passed in 2004, led to the allocation of revenue to expand access to case management and therapy to nearly 130,000 individuals from lower-income backgrounds and minority communities up to age 25 years in the county, the report found. These positive outcomes came just a few weeks after state authorities conducted an important audit in February 2018 across all counties, accusing California of accumulating the money meant for mental health services.
The MHSA imposed 1 percent tax on Californians with annual incomes exceeding $1 million, which would be diverted to expand mental health care facilities statewide. Each year, this initiative raises almost $2 billion for preventing mental health disorders, eliminating stigma and enhancing treatment standards. On the whole, counties have received $16.53 billion so far, with Los Angeles County bagging the lion’s share of tax money. California’s Mental Health Services Oversight executive director Toby Ewing mentioned that the money is crucial for treating people grappling with mental disorders. He also expressed satisfaction over the way money was being utilized in delivering care and serving communities across counties in the state.
The Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health commissioned the Rand report, which is based on findings from 2012 to 2016 during which the researchers interviewed participants in two main mental health programs – one for prevention and early medical intervention in young people battling mental health issues, while another for improvising treatment outcomes for individuals with chronic psychiatric ailments. According to the director of the second program, they plan to increase the number of participants this year, and focus on preventive care for high-risk groups such as children.
According to Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the architect of the MHSA, he was excited over the findings of the Rand report. “If we invest in early intervention and prevention, if we invest in whatever it takes for the people who are the most chronic and seriously ill, their lives will be much better and so will our communities,” he said.
Mental health is as important as physical health
According to several studies, the nationwide average stress levels are on the rise since 2014. It is the trash generated by a modern lifestyle. If not disposed of, it will accumulate to alarming levels. A wide range of internal or external factors may trigger stress, affecting mood, self-esteem, sense of well-being, behavior and physical health. A certain amount of stress is normal, but if it continues to persist over a prolonged period of time, it is a matter of concern. If left unchecked, what might start as short-term frustration can eventually progress into long-term agony. Stress can manifest itself in myriad ways in individuals by affecting their bodies and minds. Some life-threatening effects of long-term stress are hypertension, obesity, cancer, diabetes, stroke and heart attack.
Millions of Americans across the U.S. battle a wide range of mental health conditions each year. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that at least one in five American adults is vulnerable to experiencing any mental problem in a given year. However, most of the mental disorders are treatable with professional help. Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, offers a variety of customized treatments for all kinds of mental problems as well as any underlying health condition. Patients can opt for individual or group psychotherapy to regain control of their lives. Our residential mental health treatment centers in California are among the best in the nation. If you or your loved one is struggling with any mental health ailment, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives for details.
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