Kern County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (KernBHRS) has now posted their Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) three-year plan and is opening up a 30-day public comment period for the community to put their input on continuing new and proposed mental health programs to serve Kern.
According to a press release sent out by the KernBHRS, “Community feedback is essential in developing programs that provide mental illness prevention and treatment and promote mental well-being to Kern County communities.”
The MHSA was passed in 2004 via Proposition 63. Funding for the programs included in this act comes from a one percent tax on the income of those making over $1 million per year. Services are dedicated to reducing or eliminating homelessness, incarcerations, unemployment, suicide, and school failure or dropout, and prolonged suffering due to mental illness.
“The Act was developed with and by stakeholders through an extensive community planning process, a principle now held tightly to county-level planning,” stated Lou Groce, Public Information Officer with KernBHRS.
KernBHRS describes its three-year plan as an opportunity for the agency to inform stakeholders, community partners, clients, family members, and the Board of Supervisors about the highlights, accomplishments, and changes since the last Annual plan.
“KernBHRS continues to embrace the principles of MHSA and holds true to its values,” stated the KernBHRS Director, Stacy Kuwahara. “MHSA’s programs will continue to improve community collaboration, cultural and linguistic competence, access and linkage to services, and consumer and family-driven decision making. Our MHSA-funded programs offer services that promote awareness, education, and support with the intention to lower mental health stigma in our community.”
Public comments will be collected, summarized, and added to the plan – if applicable – through May 20, 2023. Following the review of the 30-day public comment period, the Behavioral Health Board will hold a public hearing on Monday, May 22 at 5:30 p.m. at 2001 28th Street in Bakersfield in the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Administrative Building.