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Mental Health Stigma & Discrimination Reduction Project

Compassion. Action. Change.

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Background

Disability Rights California was awarded a three year prevention and early intervention (PEI) stigma and discrimination reduction funding through the county / California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) and Prop. 63. The funding period is August 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014. This is one of the many PEI projects funded by CalMHSA.

CalMHSA administers programs funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) on a statewide, regional and local basis. PEI initiatives aim at preventing suicides, reducing stigma and discrimination, and improving student mental health. CalMHSA is a group of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

These initiatives:

  • are voter-approved and paid for through MHSA;
  • transform California's mental health services approach by uniting our diverse communities to embrace mental wellness;
  • deliver the tools individuals need before they reach the crisis point; and
  • provide an up-front investment that will pay off with sustained cost reductions in health, social services, education and criminal justice programs.

Specifically the MHSA Stigma and Discrimination Reduction initiative uses a full range of PEI strategies to confront the fundamental causes of stigmatizing attitudes and discriminatory and prejudicial actions toward people with mental health disabilities, across ages and backgrounds.

People with mental health disabilities are discriminated against mainly due to myths, false ideas and fears. In a recent California survey about the use of mental health services, many people said they felt like they needed help but did not request it because of their fear of stigma.

Our Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Project will address stigma and discrimination by:

  • examining laws, policies, and practices;
  • training community members on existing rights;
  • recommending needed policy changes.
  • increasing awareness of laws, policies and practices that address discrimination and support mental health services in non-traditional settings;
  • identifying those that contribute to stigma and discrimination and recommending changes;
  • disseminating culturally-relevant and age appropriate best practice policies;
  • and build capacity to continue the work after the funding term.

Disability Rights California created a Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Project Advisory Group composed of a diverse group of people, including: clients of the mental health system, family members, mental health providers and community members. The Advisory Group will provide guidance on areas of focus for the project and assist in identifying communities for training, among other advisory activities.

Disability Rights California has subcontracted with Mental Health Advocacy Services to address stigma and discrimination issues for youth.

UPDATE: Read about our training and fact sheets: Disability Rights California Training & Fact Sheets Memo (pdf)

You can download and read our brochure in these formats: Color PDF, Accessible Text RTF, or HTML (Pub #CM08.01) More languages coming soon!

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