Peer Advocates Mobilizing in Opposition to SB 326 and the Governor’s Proposal to “Modernize” the Mental Health System

Press Release

Peer Advocates Mobilizing in Opposition to SB 326 and the Governor’s Proposal to “Modernize” the Mental Health System

No on SB 326 - Photo of the front of the California State Capital building.

(Sacramento, CA) – DRC joins with the peer community in solidarity to oppose Senate Bill 326 and demand the voice of consumers be heard. Hundreds of peers, organized by a coalition of DRC, peer-run organizations and individual peer advocates called Peers Advocating for Rights and Recovery (PARR), plan to converge together at the California Assembly Health Committee Senate Bill 326 hearing on August 22, 2023, to voice their opposition to this legislation.

Advocates will convene on the southwest side of the Capitol on N Street, between 10th and 11th streets before going to the hearing as a united front to demonstrate their disapproval of these proposed changes. Human rights and peer advocates from organizations across California are urging state legislators to stop SB 326 and prevent the governor’s proposal from going on the ballot in March 2024. SB 326 was drafted without the meaningful involvement of mental health consumers, peers, providers, and other key stakeholders that this bill significantly impacts.

SB 326 will make significant cuts to Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds that are meant to be used for VOLUNTARY, community-based services, and would eliminate much-needed current mental health services from people who need them the most. 

The mental health services that would be impacted by SB 326 include outpatient services, crisis response, outreach and early intervention, and prevention programs that help individuals from developing mental illness and/or substance use disorders that may later contribute to them becoming unhoused.

The diversion of funds from mental health services will not solve homelessness. The unhoused community needs permanent, affordable supportive housing – homes – not beds in psychiatric facilities. The loss of mental health services act (MHSA) funding will deprioritize our historically underserved, unserved, and inappropriately served BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities by dramatically reducing funding for much-needed mental health services. 

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office report, the current MHSA programs are critical for long term support and cutting them may have dire unintended consequences to the overall mental health of Californians. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance stated, “When it comes to mental health care, the state continues to completely ignore or grossly underfund the foundations we use for all other illnesses such as public education, prevention and early intervention, and voluntary treatment options.” 

Media Contacts:

Melody Pomraning
Communications Director
Disability Rights California


Disability Rights California (DRC) – Is the agency designated under federal law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with disabilities. The mission of DRC is to defend, advance, and strengthen the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities.