Barger Leads L.A. County Efforts to Support Mental Health Legislation

Today, Los Angeles County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn introduced two separate motions to enlist the Board of Supervisors’ support for important federal and state mental health bills.

One motion sought Board support of SB 970, which would amend the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) by eliminating mandatory spending categories predefined by MHSA that counties must follow.

“We are living in a transformational time,” said Supervisor Barger. “As we take bold steps at national and local levels to connect members of the public with life-saving mental health professionals and systems, counties will serve a critical service delivery role. We need to strengthen our infrastructure and capacity to deploy multi-disciplinary crisis response teams. The motions introduced today help set our County up for success by granting us the resources and flexibility we need to get the job done.”

Another motion requested the Board’s support of the 988 Implementation Act. In 2020, the federal government enacted the National Suicide Hotline Act, which established 9-8-8 as the national number for suicide prevention and mental health crises. The 988 Implementation Act provides guidance to states and federal funding to help with local operational costs of the new system.

“LA County is dramatically improving the way our County responds to and treats mental health crises,” stated Supervisor Hahn. “We are building up a system that will allow us to send unarmed mental health professionals directly to people in trouble and provide them with a safe place to get the care they need to get well.  But we can only implement these important programs effectively if we have long-term funding from our federal and state partners.”

Both motions were approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors during today’s meeting.