Mental Health Commission Role
State law requires that each county have a Mental Health Board or Commission. Members are appointed by the Board of Supervisors for three-year terms. Those terms may be extended. Commissioners advise the Board of Supervisors and the Director of Mental Health on various aspects of local mental health programs.
- The role of the commission is established in the Welfare and Institutions Code, under 5604.2.
- Review and evaluate the community’s mental health needs, services, facilities, and special programs.
- Review any county agreements entered into pursuant to Section 5650 W.I.C.
- Advise the Board of Supervisors and the local mental health director regarding any aspects of the local mental health programs.
- Review and approve the procedures used to ensure citizen and professional involvement at all stages of the planning process.
- Submit an annual report to the Board of Supervisors on the needs and performance of the county’s mental health system.
- Review and make recommendations on applicants for the appointment of the local director of mental health services. The Commission shall be included in the selection process prior to the vote of the governing body.
- Review and comment on the county’s performance outcome data and communicate its findings to the State Mental Health Planning Council.
- Assess the impact of the realignment of services from the state to the county on services delivered to clients and on the local community.
The Board of Supervisors may transfer additional duties or authority to a mental health board or commission.
Each individual commissioner is required to do the following:
- Attend the monthly Commission meeting (held the 4th Thursday except in November and December).
- Come prepared to this meeting by reading previous minutes, reviewing any reading materials sent in advance that will be a topic of a presentation, be prepared to ask questions and add meaningfully to discussion.
- Become familiar (through review and attending the commission meeting presentations) with the Mental Health Services Act Annual Budget proposal.
- In conjunction with one other Commissioner, visit one mental health facility each year and fill out an evaluation form for the visit.
- Be willing to volunteer at least once during the year on a topic of research or review for the commission. This work may include a few conference calls, some independent research or interviews and a brief write-up of findings.
- Once a year, attend an executive committee meeting held with the health deputies of their appointing Supervisor.
- Ideally, be willing to represent the commission at conferences or consumer events related to mental health.
- Ideally, attend at least one-three other meetings related to mental health in their service area or district. These meetings may relate to a specific area of interest, such as justice-involved or foster youth or may be a general, monthly meeting of the Service Area Advisory Council.