For his efforts, APA Assembly Speaker Al Gaw, M.D. (left), presented Steinberg with a Speaker’s Award at last month’s meeting in San Francisco.
Steinberg’s legislation targeted people who have suffered from a severe, untreated mental illness for less than one year. He believed that many people in this population who did not "require the full range of services but are at risk of becoming homeless" would benefit from comprehensive individual and family support services to help prevent homelessness and incarceration.
The law funding this project initially covered three counties, but with ample evidence of success, it now provides grants to 38 counties.
Early outcomes data suggest that the benefits Steinberg envisioned did indeed accrue. Program participants had 66 percent fewer inpatient days than matched controls, Gaw noted, and 82 percent fewer days of incarceration.
Steinberg told APA Assembly members that he was "grateful for the opportunity to work to create a genuine mental health system in California."
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