Beall Named Leader of Mental Health Comittee

February 27, 2013

SACRAMENTO – Senator Jim Beall, whose work on mental health policy has spanned decades at the local and state levels, was appointed today as the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

“I am honored to lead the Select Committee on Mental Health,’’ Beall said. “It’s my goal make mental health treatment more accessible to the people who need it – and that includes the inmates in prison and parolees. The costs of untreated mental illness are enormous -- it destroys people’s lives, careers, and their families, and drives up the budgets for our emergency rooms, public safety and justice systems.’’

Untreated mental illness alone costs the U.S. more than $105 billion a year in lost productivity. While California has trimmed $765 million from mental health funding from 2009 to 2012, the number of inmates diagnosed with mental illness climbed from 19 percent to 25 percent from 2007 to 2012.

The Select Committee will work to identify the extent to which mental health impacts state and local finances, and to map out a mental health policies plan that coordinates all state departments.

Since arriving at the Legislature in 2006, Beall has authored several mental health parity bills to require private health insurers and health plans to cover the diagnosis and medically necessary treatment of mental illnesses of a person of any age.

As a former Santa Clara County supervisor, Beall helped increase access to mental health treatment by increasing the number of clinics and strategically locating them in neighborhoods for the convenience of working families

Contact: Rodney Foo, 408.582.1295