Big City Mayors Pledge Full Support for Mental Health Reform Bills
MAYORS FROM 13 LARGEST CALIFORNIA CITIES BACK SENATE LEGISLATION TO GET MORE PEOPLE INTO TREATMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2023
SAN DIEGO Today, the California Big City Mayors, a bipartisan coalition of Mayors of the states 13 most populous cities, offered its full support of two bills authored by state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) that would modernize Californias mental health system and make it easier for severely mentally ill people the help they need.
Senate Bill 43 seeks to reform Californias LPS conservatorship law by updating the criteria for determining if a person is gravely disabled, the standard for LPS conservatorship eligibility. Proponents of the legislation argue that the current focus of the LPS Act on the ability to provide for ones food, clothing and shelter fails to address the real needs of desperately ill people and often leads to their criminalization and jail rather than treatment.
SB 43 would update the definition of gravely disabled to include the potential for serious physical and mental harm stemming from a persons inability to provide for their own nourishment, personal or medical care and appropriate shelter, as well as an incapacity to attend to their self-protection or personal safety due to a mental health or substance-use disorder.
Senate Bill 363 would establish a real-time, internet-based dashboard to collect, aggregate and display information about the availability of beds in a range of psychiatric and substance-abuse facilities. Proponents of the bill argue that access to an up-to-date database of available beds helps providers quickly find and secure treatment for clients in appropriate settings, reducing delays and extended stays in emergency rooms.
The Big City Mayors issued the following statements:
A frustrated San Diego father came to me just days ago and told me about his severely mentally ill son, a college graduate whos oblivious to his own illness. He has bounced between psychiatric hospitals, become addicted to opiates and is now languishing in jail, not getting the help he needs,said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, Chair of the Big City Mayors.This story is far too common in our state, with emergency response becoming the only way people struggling with mental health and addiction can access care We must act on conservatorship reform for the thousands of families who struggle to get their loved ones life-saving health care. I stand with Senator Eggman and Californias Big City Mayors and wholeheartedly support efforts to modernize our mental health system.
Mental health issues and substance abuse are common reasons Angelenos fall into homelessness and remain unhoused,Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said.Right now, our citys largest mental health facility is the Los Angeles County Jail. We cannot solve this crisis until we have an adequate system to help people who are suffering -- we must answer with hope. Senator Eggman's legislation is a crucial step to fix the broken system that is failing too many Californians in crisis.
I am proud to stand behind SB 43 and SB 363,said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan.Our mental health care system as it stands today allows our most vulnerable friends, loved ones and neighbors to slip through the cracks often ending up in jail or sleeping on the streets while experiencing profound behavioral health issues. Its time we stood up for our residents who cannot recognize or accept help and made it possible for them to get the care they need.
It is long past time to improve our conservatorship laws to better address the current mental health and substance use crises we see every day in our cities, and to get people the care they deserve,said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed.It is not compassionate to leave people who cannot care of themselves to suffer on our streets, and it is inhumane to let our current laws stand. Senator Eggman's legislation will help cities like San Francisco provide care and support to people who are desperately in need of assistance so they can live healthy, fulfilling lives. We are grateful for her leadership and tenacity in continuing to fight to pass these critical reforms.
Last year, under Sen. Eggmans leadership, we took significant steps to address the States ongoing mental health crisis. But more work remains,said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.SB 43 and SB 363 take critically needed additional steps that will improve the States mental health system and provide help to those who need it. Though mental health can affect anyone, it is a major driver of homelessness. These bills will help address both mental health and homelessness.
Thanks to Senator Eggman for continuing her advocacy and work taking on the issue of our time, mental health,Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.These bills will help improve our broken system and provide relief to many more people. Everybody knows somebody who is struggling with a mental health issue. Too often, theres nowhere for them or their families to turn to get prompt, effective care.
We can make major strides in our progress addressing the statewide homelessness crisis by simplifying the number of steps required for people in need to access mental health care resources,said Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson.The challenge we all share requires us to go all in and use every resource available, especially for those who cannot recognize or accept help. I want to thank Senator Eggman for stepping up and leading on this issue.
Too many Californians are simply not getting the care they need to stay safe and healthy. SB 43 and SB 363 will help us close thosegaps by making it easier to get behavioral care to those in need and providing us with better tools for providers to immediately find available treatment options,said Mayor Sheng Thao.I applaud Senator Eggman for her leadership in advocating for our most vulnerable residents.
We cannot continue to have our citys homeless shelters and streets filled with individuals whom the states system of mental health and substance abuse has failed. The costly results leave families with little hope of intervention for their suffering loved ones,said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh.We call on the California State Legislature to take bold action to address this driver of Californias homelessness crisis.
In Anaheim and across California, we must enter the next phase of addressing homelessness,Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken said.We know that too often mental health disorders keep those on the street from getting the help they need. These cases require earlier intervention, better insight into available treatment and a complete look at someone when they enter our court system. We have made great strides in Anaheim and must keep moving forward with compassion as we address the combined tragedies of mental illness and homelessness in the most challenging cases on our streets. To do anything less is inhumane.
We are facing a mental health crisis throughout California and across our nation,said Stockton Mayor Kevin J. Lincoln II.Increased access to mental health resources, services and support is vital to addressing this humanitarian crisis at its root. SB 43 and SB 363 move us closer to providing the care our constituents deserve.
After meeting with a conservatorship attorney, my friend learned that her hands were tied by our current laws because her sister Becky did not fit the criteria for gravely disabled. Ten days later, Becky committed suicide in her tent, abandoned by our current system. We cannot let this norm continue,Riverside Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said.I support SB 43 and SB 363. These bills will make it easier for families to get their loved ones help and protect others who are loved and need our help.
The prioritization of mental health resources continues to be a top priority for the City of Irvine and California,said Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Khan.SB 43 and SB 363 provide additional opportunities to continue this important conversation and make meaningful impacts on the lives of those suffering in silence throughout Irvine, California, and beyond. Im confident these legislative changes will improve the quality of life for my constituents as we take a holistic approach to wellness.
The Big City Mayors is a coalition of Mayors across Californias 13 largest cities. Members include Mayors from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Stockton, Riverside, and Irvine.