The collection includes the records of two organizations, the Sacramento County Mental Health Advisory Board and the Sacramento
County Health Council, and a collection of pamphlets and calendars associated with Sacramento County mental health programs.
The Mental Health Advisory Board (MHAB) was created in response to the Short-Doyle Act, passed by the California legislature
in 1957. This legislation was part of a national shift in mental health policy from institutionalization of the mentally ill
to county-based community mental health systems. Sacramento’s MHAB was created in 1963 to advise the Sacramento County Board
of Supervisors and the Director of the Department of Mental Health. Its responsibility included review and evaluation of the
community’s mental health needs, services, facilities and special problems, and preparation of an annual report to the Board
of Supervisors. MHAB included several subcommittees, including the Executive Committee, the Plan Committee, the Nominating
Committee, Advisory Committee, the Catchment Area Committees (Sacramento County was divided into five service zones, called
“catchment areas”) and the Grants Committee.
The Sacramento County Health Council was created as a result of the Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974,
federal legislation that combined and redirected the efforts of federally supported state and local agencies. The Act created
regional Health Service Areas (HSA) throughout the country. Sacramento County was part of an eight-county HSA known as the
Golden Empire Health Services Agency (GEHSA) designed to allocate funds for medical facilities via a coordinated regional
plan. Each county created a Health Council that worked with GEHSA to administer the Act. Health providers submitted plans
to GEHSA and the Health Council based on identified community needs. Subcommittees of the Health Council disbursed federal
funds based on a policy called the Certificate of Need process.
Both boards represent an era when mental health policy was transitioning from one based on the long-term institutionalization
of the mentally ill to a strategy based on community care and deinstitutionalization. The Short-Doyle Act and later Lanterman-Petris-Short
Act recognized the rights of the mentally ill to live in the community and limited earlier state policies that promoted long-term
hospitalization for mental illness over community care. This move was supported by changes to state and federal law that provided
funding for community care clinics. The Short-Doyle Act provided matching state funds to counties that implemented county
mental health programs, and in 1972 California Welfare and Institutions Code 14000 allowed mental health providers to bill
Medi-Cal for mental health services. Similarly, the federal Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974, combined
with funding sources like Community Development Block Grants (first introduced in 1975) made funds available to develop community
health resources, both for mental and physical health programs.
Another change to government policy came in 1978 with the enactment of Proposition 13, which resulted in many dramatic cuts
to state programs, including mental health programs. These policy changes, including rising citizen concerns about the size
of government bureaucracy and a multiplicity of state and county advisory boards, resulted in the consolidation and reduction
of mental health service availability during the later period reflected in these records.
The Mental Health Advisory Board still exists as the Sacramento County Mental Health Board. The Sacramento County Health Council’s
functions are currently executed by the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services.
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