State governments are beginning to take action on mental health
Over the past decade, NUHW members have taken action to expand Californians’ access to mental health caregivers and push healthcare providers to properly support their vital work. This energy has driven change at the highest levels of state government — and now we’re beginning to see change in other states as well.
Statewide awareness campaigns, pickets, and high-profile strikes have all been part of the union’s advocacy. Members have also brought their concerns directly to state regulatory agencies and the governor. This has had a real impact on the enforcement of mental health parity laws, which say that health providers must give mental health the same level of resources and urgency as patients’ physical health.
Following a recent NUHW mental health caregiver strike, governor Gavin Newsom issued this strong public statement about mental healthcare, parity, and enforcement.
Perhaps just as important, Newsom has begun to respond to the mental health crisis more concretely in his 2020 budget priorities.
Encouragingly, we’re now seeing signs that governments in other states — prompted by healthcare workers, nonprofit groups, and citizens — are also beginning to grapple with today’s urgent mental health needs.
Just a few recent developments include:
- The passage of a bill to support innovative mental health first-aid training in Kentucky.
- The advancement of a bill to fund new community-based behavioral health facilities in Washington state.
- The forwarding of a bill in Maine to rebuild the state’s mental health services infrastructure.
- The expansion of funding for early childhood mental health services in Ohio.
NUHW has been ahead of the curve on these issues and our members will continue to push health providers and government officials to actively support high-quality mental healthcare in California and beyond.