California Reducing Disparities Project

The California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) was founded in 2009 with the goal of achieving mental health equity for five priority populations in California: African American, Latinx, Native American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+. The CRDP is funded through the Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63), which was passed by voters in 2004. It is administered by the Office of Health Equity at the California Department of Public Health.

CRDP is a multiethnic coalition that champions community-driven solutions to reducing mental health disparities and it does it through advocacy, policy change and program development. As a coalition of diverse organizations—as a community—we have been able to amplify each other’s voices, coordinate our efforts and strengthen our individual and our collective impact.

The first phase of the CRDP focused on developing population-specific knowledge about mental health challenges in our communities and community-defined solutions. In partnership with our community members, we collected robust qualitative and quantitative data and published five rigorous population reports, which outline the major barriers and challenges to equitable mental health care as well as extant and innovative community-driven solutions for addressing the unique needs of our diverse communities.

Between 2012 and 2015, we worked with our communities and nonprofit partners to collaboratively author the trailblazing Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities. Over 7,000 Californians participated in the research. The final Strategic Plan is community-driven and community-authored document that provides a roadmap for reducing mental health disparities in unserved, underserved, and inappropriately served communities through policy change. CPEHN served as the facilitator and writer for the report.

In the second phase of the CRDP, we are working to develop the capacity of community organizations to promote innovative community-based mental health practices, programs and approaches. Our goal is to empirically demonstrate that culturally and linguistically responsive programs, known as “community defined evidence practices” not only work but can reduce disparities and improve availability, quality, and outcomes of behavioral health care. Thirty-five grassroots organizations have been funded to conduct and evaluate population-specific approaches to mental health.

CPEHN is the education, outreach, and awareness contractor for this project. We oversee the programs, connect evaluators and stakeholders, and develop materials and messaging for a variety of audiences. In collaboration with media experts, we also create materials to support the CRDP community and promote community-defined mental health solutions.


Of California’s population will be composed of communities of color by 2030


Of Black Californians are diagnosed with a serious mental illness, while the average is 4.2%


Of Californians whose primary language is Spanish sought mental health help, compared to 3% of English speakers