The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) was approved by California voters to provide a 1% tax on personal income over $1 million in order to expand and transform the county mental health service system. It became effective January 01, 2005.
This funding allows the County of Riverside the opportunity to provide services in the areas of Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI). Per the MHSA, a comprehensive community planning process was completed that utilized the expertise of the community and community leaders. In alignment with the MHSA, RCDMH has included the transformational concepts to develop a community-driven, culturally competent, wellness focused PEI plan that targets individuals and families across the age span, with special attention to underserved cultural communities.
Per the State guidelines, an objective of PEI is to increase capacity for mental health prevention and early intervention programs. These programs need to be provided in places where mental health services are not traditionally given, such as schools, community centers, faith-based organizations, etc. The intent of PEI programs is to engage individuals before the development of serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance or to alleviate the need for additional or extended mental health treatment.
What is Prevention?
Prevention in mental health involves building protective factors and skills, increasing support, and reducing risk factors or stressors.
Prevention efforts occur prior to a diagnosis for mental illness.
Generally there are no time limits on prevention programs.
What is Early Intervention?
Addresses a condition early in its manifestation
Is of relatively low intensity
Is of relatively short duration (usually less than one year)
Has the goal of supporting well-being in major life domains and avoiding the need for more extensive mental health services
May include individual screening for confirmation of potential mental health needs.
The PEI community planning process, which included focus groups, community forums, and survey completion, resulted in the identification of culturally-tailored parenting services and after school programs for the African American population as a priority and necessary intervention for the underserved African-American population of Riverside County. Consequently, Riverside County Department of Mental Health established new programs to service the African American population within Riverside County. This project includes the provision of three (3) Evidence Based Practices (EBP’s), Effective Black Parenting, Africentric Youth & Families Rites of Passage, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
The primary program goals of this project are to reduce the risk of developing mental health problems and to increase resiliency and skill development for the African American population of Riverside County. The program provides services in culturally appropriate settings, incorporating African-American philosophies and traditions. The setting for service delivery is non-traditional and assists participants in feeling comfortable seeking services from staff that are knowledgeable and capable of identifying needs and solutions for African-American families and individuals.
The services are designed to work together in a unique approach to prevention and early intervention services. BRAAF seeks to engage the African American community by working within the community and collaborating with schools, community organizations, faith-based organizations, and other individuals, groups, and/or services that have the trust of, connection with and desire to build resiliency in African-American families.