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California Awards $14.4 Million to Boost the State’s Behavioral Health Workforce

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that California has awarded $14.4 million in grants to grow the state’s behavioral health workforce by nearly 3,300 personnel through training and placement programs.

“California is building a behavioral health workforce that reaches people where they are,” said Governor Newsom. “These grants will help provide invaluable support to those who need it most from workers with lived experience.”

Awarded by the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) under its Peer Personnel Training and Placement grant program, the grants – awarded to 16 organizations – will allow them to recruit, train, and place nearly 3,300 peer personnel in 43 counties throughout California.

Peer personnel are individuals with lived experience as a mental or behavioral health services consumer, family member, and/or caregiver. Peer personnel duties include leading recovery groups, building community and relationships, sharing resources, and advocating for people in recovery.

“Governor Newsom and this Administration are committed to providing better access and care related to behavioral health, especially among our state’s youth,” said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “Providing grants for peer personnel training and placement will help Californians get the care they need, when they need it.”

“When we go through a difficult situation in our lives, having someone providing support that has been there helps us not feel alone and get the help we need,” said HCAI Director Elizabeth Landsberg. “At HCAI we are working to support and diversify every level of the behavioral health workforce, including those with lived experience.”

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: The Peer Personnel Training and Placement Program, funded by the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI), seeks to increase the number of peer personnel specialists ages 18-25. The program prioritizes the recruitment of youth and students with lived experience in high schools, adult education programs, regional occupational programs, community colleges, and those already working and/or volunteering in a behavioral health program. HCAI funds student scholarships, loan repayment, and organizational grants to mentor and support a future workforce.

BIGGER PICTURE: The $4.7 billion CYBHI aims to transform California’s behavioral health system into an innovative ecosystem where all children and youth from birth to age 25 have access to services for emerging and existing behavioral health needs, regardless of health payer.

See the list of Peer Personnel Training and Placement Program awardees on the HCAI website.