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Mental Health Services for Older Adults: Creating a System That Tells the Story

January 25, 2018

Policy Brief

Authors: Janet C. Frank, DrPH, Alixe P. McNeil, MPA, Nancy Wilson. MA, MSW, Danielle Dupuy, MPH, Jo Ann Damron-Rodriguez, LCSW, PhD, Alina Palimaru, Kathryn G. Kietzman, PhD, MSW

In 2004, voters in California approved Proposition 63 for passage of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). From that time until 2014, over $13 billion in the state’s tax revenue was allocated for public mental health services. There is very little information available to answer critical questions such as these: How much of this amount was spent in the interests of older adult mental health? What benefits were gained from services delivered to older adults? This policy brief promotes recommendations for specific age-relevant indicator utilization and for an expanded system of uniform and transparent data for all types of MHSA-funded programs. These two policy directions are necessary in order to document the older adult mental health care services provided and to track outcomes at the state level for MHSA programs. A third recommendation centers on assuring that the mental health workforce is prepared to utilize and report age-relevant data indicators.

This policy brief is part of a six-county study of public mental health services for older adults funded by the MHSA.  This is the first study to assess whether MHSA-funded services meet the complex needs and address the recovery goals of older adults with mental illness by supporting an Older Adult System of Care (OASOC). For more information on this evaluation, and to see all related publications, please visit: www.healthpolicy.ucla.edu/Older-Adult-Mental-Health-Care

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