I recently read an Associated Press article in The Tribune about the auditing of mental health programs funded by Prop 63 (July 30).
Prop 63 has had tangible, noteworthy effects on the nonprofit Community Counseling Center of San Luis Obispo County. The center has been providing affordable, professional psychological counseling to the low-income and uninsured residents of SLO County since 1968, but not since the implementation of Prevention and Early Intervention programs has it been able to reach significant underserved populations. The programs have facilitated a dramatic increase of low-cost counseling services (up 60 percent from 2008) for transitional age youth ages 14 to 24, LGBT-identifying individuals and Latino families. Consumers that might otherwise experience hospitalization, job loss, interpersonal cleavages and severe stigma are instead finding therapeutic support and are avoiding the tragic pitfalls of consumer dependency.
The programs go beyond the pure prevention with the added effect of lowering overall stigma in the community — setting the stage for more inclusivity and acceptance regarding treatment of mental health issues.
Any recent attempts to diminish Proposition 63 programs need to consider how important it is to deal with issues on the front end, rather than the back end, when dealing with mental health.
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