Greetings to our API Older Adult Task Force members and friends!
As some of you are aware, there have been many developments regarding the Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) portion of the Mental Health Services Act. Traditionally mental health services have been provided at outpatient clinics for those who are severely mentally ill, so PEI is a unique opportunity to provide non-clinical services and programs that enhance mental well-being and socialization in a community setting. Organizations that are doing worthwhile, successful work within the community now have the opportunity to apply for funding as a LA County Department of Mental Health (DMH) contractor for the first time in years.
That being said, there are several aspects to the roll-out of the PEI plan currently that are causes for concern:
- How will API community members be served when there are no specific API programs listed as an approved PEI model and when services are allocated through service planning areas (SPAs)?
- How will larger mainstream organizations who may be more competitive for PEI funding outreach and serve the needs of API community members within their area?
- Traditionally, DMH has a very low penetration rate for effectively serving the API community, so that we very much remain an underserved population.
- Will the mental health needs of the API community be served effectively by evidence-based practices whose research are based on non-APIs?
- What about linguistic and cultural considerations in delivery PEI services to API communities?
- How can API community-based organizations apply competitively for funding that is allocated by SPAs when our communities are scattered geographically across the County?
- Given the stigma of mental health alongside high risks for isolation, depression and lack of socialization among API older adults, how will their needs be met when only a limited percentage of PEI money is specifically set aside for older adult programs that are not culturally and linguistically accessible and appropriate?
Currently DMH has designated 45 PEI models into 130 programs available for PEI funding, for a total of over $72 million. The Request For Services (RFS) for the 130 programs will be released in 11 phases, starting in January 2010. Only providers who are on DMH’s pre-approved Master Agreement List will receive the RFS and are eligible to apply for these PEI programs. Some of you may have attended a “How to Become an MHSA PEI Contractor” training on October 13, hosted by DMH, which had a tremendous response with over 400 people in attendance! As there is a wait list, DMH has said they will provide additional trainings in November/December for those who couldn’t make it, which we will forward to you when we receive any notice. Even if you’ve never considered your organization as a DMH contractor before, it may be worthwhile to get the right information to make an informed decision, seeing that this is the first time in years that DMH has even opened up the Master Agreement List for new contractors. Remember, you can only apply for DMH funding if you are on this Master Agreement List beforehand!
To address some of these issues and learn more, we highly encourage all of our member organizations, particularly smaller agencies with no previous history of working with DMH, in attending a special PEI meeting hosted by A3PCON’s Mental Health Committee:
Friday, November 20 @ 11am
Special Services for Groups (SSG), 7th floor board room
605 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles 90015
OATF will be in attendance to represent API older adult issues, but we urge as many of you (especially ethnic-specific, grassroots organizations) to attend and let your voices be heard. There will also be strategy planned on how to apply for these programs. So even if your organization is not interested in being a DMH PEI contractor but can be a subcontractor for a lead agency, it is important that you attend to see what collaborations can be made so that your community is not left out!
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
– Asian & Pacific Islander Older Adults Task Force