California now has more conclusive data on the uniquely different experiences of communities of color in their interactions with system of mental health care. In 2017, CPEHN sponsored AB 470 (Arambula), which required the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to improve the Statewide Performance Outcome System for specialty mental health services (SMHS) to identify mental health disparities at the county or statewide level. DHCS now provides publicly available data on disparities in mental health utilization, access, and outcomes. Assembly Bill 512 builds upon the findings from AB 470 and requires the California Department of Health Care Services and local county mental health departments to use this conclusive data to set performance goals to reduce disparities in California’s communities of color.
Despite California’s investments in mental health care, several key findings from the improvements to the Statewide Performance Outcome System show the need of communities of color for great quality and access in mental health care.