Health Equity Forum: April 2019 Community Spotlight

Partner Spotlight: Behavioral Health Equity Collaborative in Action!

CPEHN is proud to shine the spotlight on some of our Behavioral Health Equity Collaborative (BHEC) partners — a group of statewide advocates interested in pursuing advocacy in the area of behavioral health — for their recent advocacy around improving the cultural competence of California’s public mental health system.

  • Korean Community Services’ mission is achieved through the promotion of projects and programs that provide culturally and professionally competent human services to underserved Korean Americans.
  • Asian-Americans Advancing Justice-LA advocates for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.
  • Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) aids, organizes and empowers the indigenous community in Ventura County.
  • #Out4MentalHealth is a statewide project that engages LGBTQ people throughout California to develop a mental health equity agenda and offer tools and resources that address these disparities and make shared goals a reality.

On Thursday, April 25, several BHEC members traveled to Anaheim to attend a statewide Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC). Partners shared their stories with the MHSOAC to request their support for Assembly Bill (AB) 512. AB 512 (Authored by Assemblymember Ting) requires counties to set forward-looking goals in their mental health cultural competence plans and requires the Department of Health Care Services to annually review and monitor their progress toward achieving these goals. Partners expressed to the MHSOAC why California counties need guidance, expertise, and assistance to realize the intended purpose of Cultural Competence Plans.

Partner Highlights on AB 512:

  • Charlene Choi of Korean Community Services discussed AB 512’s improvements to the quality of mental health care for immigrant communities in Orange County.
  • Weiyu Zhang of Asian-Americans Advancing Justice-LA highlighted AB 512’s goal to address persistent disparities among API communities, evidenced by their agency’s behavioral health assessment.
  • Ana Ramirez and Lidia Lopez of the Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) underscored AB 512’s proposal to integrate community-defined practices.
  • #Out4MentalHealth is a sponsor of AB 512 and they emphasized AB 512’s leverage of the Office of Health Equity’s Cultural Competence expertise.
  • Carolina Valle of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network highlighted AB 512’s improvements to existing requirements and data sources to reduce mental health disparities.

California must put cultural competence at the core of its public mental health services so that the needs of communities of color and LGBTQ+ communities are uplifted and met. Our partners believe that AB 512 is an important step towards ensuring that this happens and that our communities receive the care they deserve — through better data, stronger oversight, and more robust stakeholder engagement. CPEHN is proud to co-sponsor this legislation and we thank our partners for their dedication to this issue.