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Our Broken Mental Health System – if only BHAB could do it’s job.

Last updated on May 10, 2021

We see it in the headlines day after day.

At issue is that San Diegans have a powerful but, unrealized, opportunity to have a seat at the table as the County decides which people facing mental illness challenges, which communities are served with what resources and when, as well as an appropriate level of funding.

In each of these examples from over the last two weeks, the primary demographic include children, men, and women of color. This suggests to me that our county’s sustained lack of focus on our mental health crises, and it’s insistence to marginalize and sideline the Behavioral Health Advisory Board (BHAB), are closely intertwined.

By silencing the one state-mandated entity that is charged with ensuring the county’s Behavioral Health System is meaningfully engaging stakeholders in their mental health system throughout the year, the county is effectively continuing it’s systemic racist practices.

Systemic racism is ultimately targeted violence, and isn’t broken with hope or timidity. It takes significant, radical action to break these chains, especially focusing on those that ignore the chronic needs of our Black and Brown mentally ill neighbors.

When will we begin rebuilding our communities with sufficient mental health resources? We’re told the time is now. But, I cannot believe that until I see the BHAB is doing it’s job unfettered and with all the resources it is allowed yet, have been prevented from receiving.

A Light Sampling of Current San Diego Media

This San Diego NBC7 series is running from May 5th-7th, the final segment airing tonight.

May 2021 | BREAKDOWN: Investigating San Diego County’s Mental Health Care Crisis

“BREAKDOWN” exposes the many ways this crisis affects our community, and, through the voices of those hit hardest by the crisis, shows how changes to the system could better serve those so desperately in need of care.”

Catherine Garcia, Tom Jones, Jay Yoo, Armando Flores and Rafael Avitabile | NBC San Diego

Other relatively recent stories include:

The Learning Curve | Will Huntsberry | Voice of San Diego

April 22, 2021 | The Learning Curve: Schools Prepare to Tackle Massive Mental Health Needs | Voice of San Diego

What I’m getting at is this: Schools face a mental health challenge of dramatic proportions – and it’s still unclear whether teachers and principals will have the tools to address it.

Will Huntsberry, Voice of San Diego
Mother of Angel Zapata Hernandez with Genevieve Wright-Jones of Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance (MOGO)

April 19, 2021 | $5.5 Million Settlement Reached With Family Of Man Who Died In MTS Custody | KPBS and City News Service

“The best way to honor Angel’s memory is that no family ever has to suffer the needless loss of their child. My deepest hope is that this settlement and the changes that MTS has made will ensure that this never happens again.”

Claudia Hernandez, Mother of Angel Zapata Hernandez

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