Mental Health Coalition of Sonoma County prepares launch

After five years in development under St. Joseph Health System’s wing, the Mental Health Coalition of Sonoma County will officially become its own entity this summer, and officials have already garnered support from nearly every big health care name in the county.

The group aims to create a centralized mental health system and foster collaboration to introduce new programs.

With the state trimming Medi-Cal funding for mental health this summer and the potential for even more cuts with the May 19 special election, coordination among those still providing services for the mentally ill will become all the more paramount.

Mental Health Coalition lead and St. Joe coordinator Stella Rijeka said even now few providers have an abundance of such services, but all together the county could have a complete system. Beginning July 1, the coalition will officially form its own nonprofit and unite the region’s resources by creating a community consciousness of what is available and rallying partners to launch initiatives to fill the unmet gaps.

“There is a continuum of how people work together and it starts with networking and sharing information. Then that leads to cooperating and sharing information, then working together, then full collaboration where everyone has one common vision and we are all putting resources in the middle for that common vision. The goal is to break us out of functioning in our own individual silos,” Ms. Rijeka said.

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