MHSA General Stakeholders Meeting #2
April 5, Burbank, CA
Sylvia Caras, PhD

I was early at the airport gate and startled to see long lines at Southwest's A, B, and C stations. Then I realized a prior flight was waiting to board, so I checked all the departures and saw a flight to Las Vegas and a flight to Burbank both leaving in an hour from the same gate. So I asked a staff person and they explained to me that I was confusing the flight leaving now with the one leaving in an hour. Politely I asked them again and was again told no problem. But they are at the same gate and at the same time, I repeated, calmly, again. Oh, yours has had a gate change; it's in the other terminal. I had time and so there wasn't a problem but neither clerk seemed to be at all concerned about the error on the information displays.

I didn't have access to a printer after midnight, so wasn't able to print a boarding pass in advance and got assigned to the B boarding line. I watched the B line faces look like runner-ups and the C line people look like losers. I was not at all comfortable with that, though when I fly American Airlines and get to board In Group One, I like that privilege. I also noted that, despite Southwest assuring customers that A boarding passes would also be available at the airport counters and from the airport kiosks, all those in the A line were holding boarding passes from a computer, not the cardboard passes from the airport.

Bill Compton and Gail Greene are here and I've met a group from an Asian-Pacific Islander residential program and Dennis O'Brien, a client and a clinical psychologist with 5 PhD's.

There's signing available, and simultaneous translation into Spanish.

Additional input accepted on draft requirements for County Plans until April 11. Revised requirements will be released mid-May.

In a week, a summary of this meeting will be posted on the DMH MHSA website.

Client and family pre-meeting: First general stakeholder meeting since over 600 attended December 17 Sacramento meeting. Since then, 7 workgroup meetings have been held. Counties represented here: San Bernandino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obsipbo Tulare, San Francisco (SEIU), Santa Cruz (me).

Questions and answers around funding m h courts, no force, supplantation, … State will provide a legal opinion on non-supplantation with no stakeholder input. The baseline comparison date for the State is FY 03 FY 04 (directly from the statute); the law isn't clear for the counties. DMH believes that the comparison is of the aggregate amount of dollars, not program by program, so the issue of whether a program was not funded last year but was the year before is moot.

Acceptable programs must be consistent with the philosophy of the act. The first meeting of the Oversight and Accountability Commission will be held in May (I've not heard a word about anyone getting appointed. Anyone know?) There is no due date for county plans; they will be received when ready, but must be reviewed/approved at the state level.

Breakout: 6 clients, two NAMI family members, one advocate (former m h director), one parent of special-needs child. NAMI member insisted on conforming table process to directive from facilitator. But in Sacramento, clients opposed this kind of imposed process, and at this table clients had things to say that don't fit the model being used. Group were asked for positives in the plannig process: funding moved from IMD's to peer programs, Procovery, WRAP, education, law enforcement training, some counties are having good stakeholder meetings, translation (what is happening to the input). Report-out, jobs, peers, … Again, the question of not knowing about the meetings, not having the resources to attend, … is a problem for some here.

Pacific Clinic clients are well-represented.

Many clients spoke about the good work NAMI does.

Gail Greene from Project Return handed out a CNMHC statement devised by their MHSA Client Implementation Team and the Bay Area Region about the concerns clients still have, looking for evidence of real transformation and that out voice has been heard and acted on.

I passed out small copies of the "Nothing About Me With Me" poster with the palm print.


At my table was a person on his county mental health payroll as a "family advocate." He says there are seven in the state, structured differently in different counties, and NAMI would like one in each county. We had a cordial conversation about family interests, self-determination, …

Lunch: Hilton has provided concession carts outside; and there are hotel restaurants, and I think there is nothing within walking distance. The airport is a 10 minute walk but it is small and there is one unexciting restaurant that I saw coming in. I have nuts and a protein bar. The concession pizza is, I'm told, macaroni. Please show me, I asked. Pepperoni.

I visited with Georgia De Groat, Ken Rose, dismayed at exclusion of a client voice in Ventura, and then was greeted by PAI's Pam Liu.

The afternoon meeting has about 150 here, most clients and families from the morning. Plans for the Plan - 10 have been approved (the ones that made the February 15 date). 750 on the DMH email announcement (blaster) list; 108 get snail. About 400 phone lines in the six conference call. 113 documents on the website. DMH will:

"Require expansion of peer support and family education services to be a component of the county plans."

"Propose that one of the initial education and training priorities be a focus on increased consumer/family employment."

There is currently $60 million in the MHS Fund.

Afternoon sessions have powerpoint projection and hard copy handout and presenters then read the powerpoint <sigh>.

There are input times well interspersed and the audience has lots to say and we are an hour

Goal of outcome of reducing involuntary services still valid and MHSA funds can fund involuntary if all the provisions of the Act and other standards are met.

People brought long written statements that they read into the record.  We are running more than an hour late.  Interveners are not especially focused, are giving input not about the task at hand but rather about their own issue or concern.  One lesson is how badly people want to be heard, and how much they think there are ides Those speaking want more rules and interventions from the state.  Advocate says slow down the process; many voices haven't been heard.  Pamela Liu, PAI, says PAI analysis is that MHSA funds cannot be used for involuntary.   NAMI wants to ensure mental health courts and their ordered services are funded.   Older Adults not a major theme. 

Final hour of agenda, accountability, measuring outcomes, and definition of transformation, ... wasn't covered.

Cultural issue: people from API community won't complain.

Client: "Most of us make about $800 a month."   "Make," as in earn, not "get", as in benefit.  The formulation stays in my mind.