Calaveras County Residents Affected by Mental Illness Have Online Resource

May 31, 2006
Calaveras Enterprise

Calaveras County residents affected by mental health issues have a new internet resource where they can access local and state information.

The new Web site developed by the California Department of Mental Health provides general information about mental health disorders and care, along with resources about substance abuse and developmental disabilities.

The Web site is organized into 58 county specific areas.

These county specific areas provide local information where community members can find which department deals with an issue that they need help with and how to contact that particular agency or department for service.

In Calaveras County, the Behavioral Health Services Agency is the lead agency for mental health related service. The Calaveras Works and Human Services Agency (CalWorks) provides services that may be used by those affected by mental illness.

Annually, the Calaveras County Behavioral Health Services Agency serves 600 clients and has 300 open cases at any given time.

These numbers are expected to go up because of an increase in local population. The rural nature of the county makes it difficult for a portion of the population to access services.

This question of access is being addressed by both the Behavioral Health Agency and Calaveras Works and Human Services Agency through the gradual opening of outreach offices in West Point and Copperopolis, along with other slated for Angels Camp, Arnold and Valley Springs.

The new state sponsored Web site will also help those who have limited access to information.

It includes not only an informational directory for local residents but provides information about specific disorders

.

The site tracks state and federal legislation that affects patients and families affected by mental health issues and allows those affected to voice their opinions through email links to the legislators writing the bills.

Funding for the Wweb site is through the Mental Health Services Act, also known as Proposition 63 authored by Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg, which was passed in 2004 and authorized a tax of 1 percent on residents whose income is more than $1 million.

The funding from the Act will cover first-year maintenance costs for the Web site.

The site can be accessed at www.networkofcare.org or through the Calaveras County Behavioral Health Services Web site.