A physician, an advocate, a public health specialist, a suicide-attempt survivor and a California state lawmaker gathered in downtown Sacramento today to offer their diagnosis of the state’s mental health system.
The consensus was summed up by Sen. Jim Beall: “We need to start from scratch.”
The panel discussion, hosted by CALmatters and the California Health Care Foundation, builds off an ongoing CALmatters reporting project by Jocelyn Wiener and Byrhonda Lyons on the state’s fragmented, sometimes fatally dysfunctional mental health system.
Kelechi Ubozoh, the co-author of the book, “We’ve Been Too Patient,” spoke from personal experience as someone who attempted suicide in the past and was involuntarily hospitalized.
Ubozoh, peer and community engagement manager at the California Mental Health Services Authority, said the system prioritizes crisis treatment over early intervention, treats the criminal justice system as a provider of first resort and ignores the voices of those who experienced the system first-hand.
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