Policy & Advocacy
State Level Advocacy
As a project of Mental Health America of California, CAYEN is directly connected to various forums for advocacy on mental health policy. Through participation in state-level committees and workgroups we have the ability to take the ideas we hear from TAY and advocate to ensure that they are reflected in decisions made by policy makers. Through this targeted advocacy at the state level we can directly influence the Governor, State Legislators, State Departments, the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, County Mental Health Directors, the Mental Health Planning Council, and many others.
While CAYEN as an organization focuses primarily on state level advocacy, we encourage and support TAY across the state to get involved in their local mental health advocacy efforts and activities. CAYEN provides several methods for supporting transition age youth in local advocacy including:
- Provide resources to support local advocates and helping them understand local structures, effective advocacy, and strategies/methods that are successful.
- Connect interested TAY with their local policy planners and MHSA coordinators.
- Provide resources for agencies, policy planners, and mental health workers about effective strategies for engaging youth in high level meetings and policy discussions.
- Promote cross-agency and cross-county learning through sharing practices that TAY say work.
- Provide information to county mental health directors on key policies and programs that benefit transition age youth.
How You Can Get Involved in Local Advocacy
There are 58 counties in California and each one has their own department that manages mental health, which is usually called the County Mental Health or Behavioral Health Department. Sometimes this department is combined with other departments like the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. Usually with a simple Internet search you can find your county’s mental health department website.
Each of the 58 counties in California is responsible for having a county planning process to make sure that the programs being created are ones that the community says they need. Going to your mental health board meetings is a way to get a general idea of what is happening in your county around mental health services.
If you want to get involved to ensure that you have a say in the services and programs available to youth and young adults in your county, you should contact your MHSA Coordinator or Ethnic Service manager and tell them that you want to get involved in your local MHSA planning process.
If you would like some help with contacting them, or have questions about getting involved locally, contact CAYEN, and we are happy to help!