California plan to invest $4.7B in children's mental health

California plans to invest $4.7 billion to increase access to mental health and substance use services for individuals 25 and younger.

California's Master Plan for Kids' Mental Health, unveiled by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 18, will also add 40,000 mental health workers, according to a news release from the governor's office. 

One-third of seventh and eighth graders and half of 11th graders experienced chronic sadness in the 2020-21 school year, the release said. It is estimated that 1 in 10 children ages 12 to 17 suffered at least one major depressive episode last year. In addition, suicide rates among Californians ages 10 to 18 went up 20 percent from 2019 to 2020, according to the release. 

Some plan elements are already available for children and families, including hotlines, informational guides and CalHOPE, which delivers individual and group counseling sessions, networking and education. 

Mr. Newsom said this is the most significant overhaul of the mental health system in state history. 

"The Master Plan for Kids' Mental Health is premised on a very simple belief: every single kid deserves to have their mental health supported," he said in the release.

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