Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)
San Bernardino County: MHSA Implementation and Information
With the passage of Proposition 63, the local county mental health departments made a renewed commitment to develop a "professionally trained, culturally competent social work workforce that will meet the needs of the public mental health system in California." Certain key student competencies were developed that identified skills necessary for future practitioners in entering into public mental health services.
The Department of Social Work and Social Ecology has been actively involved in implementation of the Mental Health Services Act (aka Proposition 63) for its students. Beginning in the 2005-2006 academic year, the MSW program began to offer qualifying students a stipend award in the amount of $18,500.00.
This program is coordinated under CalSWEC II (California Social Work Education Center). Each of the graduate programs is responsible for designing and implementing a curriculum that in part focuses on evidenced-based practice and the recovery model.
Close partnerships with community-based agencies are emphasized as a way of collaborating and promoting mental health practice.
Students need to complete a Proposition 63 application (see links above). Upon receipt of the application, a panel oral interview is then scheduled. The interview is approximately a half hour in duration. Interviews are held in the spring quarter. Awards are competitive and based on the quality of both the written application as well as the oral interview.
To be eligible for the stipend program, students must be enrolled as a full-time student and entering into their final academic year of the MSW program. Students must be either a U.S. citizen or have a work visa allowing them to meet the work commitment upon graduation. Students must also have a valid driver's license and proof of insurance, and they must successfully complete a background check through the University.
Academic and Field Program
The focus of the Proposition 63 program is to develop professional and competent practitioners who will work directly with consumers in a behavioral health setting. Students who can demonstrate a detailed work history indicating adequate experience in the field of county mental health services may have the option of declaring either a policy or clinical concentration.
While in the MSW Program, all Proposition 63 students are required to take selective courses specific to the area of mental health services. Students are enrolled in their final year in a specialized seminar class addressing issues in mental health services.
In the first year of field placement, students have the option of working in either a mental health or non-mental health agency (school, hospital). However, in the second year of practicum, students are required to be placed in a county mental health agency.
Upon graduation, students will work in a county mental health agency or subcontracted agency for a period of time equal to the period for which he/she received financial support (one year).