Governor Signs Package of Mental Health Bills

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of bills Friday meant to expand mental health services in California. Among the bills that will now become law are:

  • Assembly Bill 1976 (Eggman), which removes barriers currently imposed on counties that wish to implement Laura’s Law. Laura’s Law allows for court-ordered outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill in counties that opt in.
  • Assembly Bill 2265 (Quirk-Silva), which allows counties to use Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funds for the treatment of substance abuse that often coincides with mental health disorders.
  • Senate Bill 803 (Beall), which establishes statewide standards for behavioral health Peer Support Specialists who help those with substance abuse issues or mental health disorders. It also allows Peer Support Specialists to be offered as an option through Medi-Cal.
  • Senate Bill 855 (Wiener), which requires private health insurers to fully cover mental health and substance abuse treatment as a “medical necessity” on par with physical illnesses.

Governor Newsom called the bills’ signing a fulfillment of one of his signature campaign promises. It comes as mental health disorders like Depression and anxiety are on the rise.