Right to Heal: Centering Mental Health Multi-Racial Equity in California

In 2004, California voters passed Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act, which expanded and greatly improved the delivery of mental health services and treatment across California. The Act created an independent commission called Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), to provide broad oversight and leadership in the community mental health system statewide.

In December 2020, CPEHN was contracted by MHSOAC to deliver on some of the equity promises of the Mental Health Services Act. For three years, until 2024, CPEHN will serve as one of MHSOAC’s statewide advocacy organizations. In this role, we lead statewide advocacy efforts, engage local stakeholders from diverse racial and ethnic communities—including multicultural, Black, Native American, Asian and Pacific Islander and Latinx—and provide training, technical assistance, advocacy support and outreach.

In particular, we will lead local and state advocacy efforts to address the unique needs of diverse racial and ethnic communities when it comes to mental health. We will conduct mental health advocacy through local events, gatherings, research and advocacy. We will hold county, regional and state convenings and engage in advocacy activities with community leader including grassroots organizations, county representatives and constituents. We’ll support local advocacy and oversee follow-up activities, data collection, and recommended action items for inclusion in the final State of the Community Report.

The goals of this statewide advocacy project are to:

  • Ensure that diverse racial and ethnic communities have a major role in the development and implementation of local- and state-level mental health policies and programs, as well as access to quality services and supports.
  • Increase awareness of the challenges and issues that diverse racial and ethnic communities face through advocacy, education, outreach, and engagement.
  • Increase services as well as access to mental health services in diverse racial and ethnic communities.
  • Develop local coalitions that will continue mental health advocacy work in their specific communities.

CPEHN’s role in this project is to execute the statewide advocacy efforts and facilitate local advocacy activities. Our statewide partners are: Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, California Black Health Network, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, and California Consortium for Urban Indian Health.

Local Level Entity Partners

  • Hmong Cultural Center of Butte County
  • The Cambodian Family Community Center
  • Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries
  • Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth
  • OnTrack Program Resources
  • Valley Ministries Metropolitan Community Church
  • Visión y Compromiso
  • Vista Community Clinic
  • AltaMed
  • California Black Women’s Health Project
  • Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project
  • Bakersfield American Indian Health Project
  • True North
  • Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley

Increase in the number of adult Californians with serious psychological distress from 2014 to 2018


Increase in the number of adult Asian Californians with serious psychological distress from 2014 to 2018


Increase in the number of adult LGBTQ+ Californians with serious psychological distress from 2014 to 2018