May was "Mental Health Awareness" Month.
May was also the time for California Democrats to gather and discuss critical policy issues. Unfortunately, one policy issue that was severely under discussed was mental health justice. Believe it or not, The Democratic Party does not even have a Mental Health Caucus.
So, I decided to take action and gather more than 250 signatures petitioning the Democratic Party to form a mental health caucus. My hope and that of many people is that the Party begins to take the issue of mental illness the attention it needs and deserves.
Among the legislative champions are former Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Congresswoman Grace Napolitano. They have both fought boldly for mental health justice legislation. Senator Steinberg motivated by the extraordinary story of his daughter Jordana's battle with severe mood disorder championed mental health issues in the California State legislature. His departure, due to term limits has left a void in the CA legislature. Congresswoman Napolitano courageously and skillfully maneuvered the Mental Health Act in Schools only to have her efforts thwarted by Republicans who refused to fund the bill.
I am encouraged by legislators like Senator Steinberg and Congresswoman Napolitano. And, I am proud of my fellow Democrats who took the bold step to sign our Mental Health Caucus petition. We will not stop our efforts until that caucus is formed and begins to discuss the real policy issues related to mental illness.