Cultivating our Efforts
The Community Mental Health Equity Project 

By: Sosha Marasigan-Quintero, CMHEP Lead

In the Community Development and Engagement Unit we believe culture catalyzes change and gives hope to every community. A reimagined culturally inclusive mental health system acknowledges and respects the beliefs and behaviors of underserved consumers and subsequently heals us all from the roots.

In 2019, California Assembly Bill (AB) 74 authorized $8M in General Funds to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to address and reduce mental health disparities across the state. In 2020, the Community Mental Health Equity Project (CMHEP) became a collaborative effort of the CDPH Office of Health Equity (OHE) and Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) Medi-Cal Behavioral Health Division (MCBHD), with CDPH as the principle manager. Given OHE’s previous experience launching the innovative $60M California Reducing Disparities Project, the OHE was chosen to administer $4.5M for up to 35 community based organizations (CBOs) in non-competitive grants. These funds aim to further invest in and integrate community defined mental health programs in county behavioral health departments to enhance culturally and linguistically responsive mental health services to underserved populations. Similarly, due to DHCS’ authority and oversight responsibility of county mental health cultural competence plans, CDPH appropriated MCBHD $3M to contract with a health equity consultant(s) to embed a health equity framework to address ongoing mental health inequities and disparities. Through DHCS authority, the health equity consultant will review county mental health cultural competence plans and develop tailored training and technical assistance for counties and CBOs through a population specific and community driven lens. See graphic below for CMHEP project flow.