Evaluating the Impact of Prevention and Early Intervention Activities on the Mental Health of California’s Population

by Katherine E. Watkins, M. Audrey Burnam, Edward Okeke, Claude Messan Setodji

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In 2004, California voters passed the Mental Health Services Act, which was intended to transform California's community mental health system from a crisis-driven system to one that included a focus on prevention and wellness. The vision was that prevention and early intervention (PEI) services comprised the first step in a continuum of services designed to identify early symptoms and prevent mental illness from becoming severe and disabling. Twenty percent of the act's funding was dedicated to PEI services. The act identified seven negative outcomes that PEI programs were intended to reduce: suicide, mental health–related incarcerations, school failure, unemployment, prolonged suffering, homelessness, and removal of children from the home. The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) coordinated with the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an independent administrative and fiscal intergovernmental agency, to seek development of a statewide framework for evaluating and monitoring the short- and long-term impact of PEI funding on the population. CalMHSA selected the RAND Corporation to develop a framework for the statewide evaluation. This report describes the approach, the data sources, and the frameworks developed: an overall approach framework and outcome-specific frameworks.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Background

  • Chapter Two

    Goals and Approach

  • Chapter Three

    Methods

  • Chapter Four

    Evaluation Frameworks

  • Chapter Five

    Data Sources and Measures Specifications

  • Chapter Six

    Analytic Approaches to Evaluating the Impact of PEI

  • Chapter Seven

    Conclusions

  • Appendix A

    Framework Logic Models

  • Appendix B

    Database Descriptions

  • Appendix C

    Measures Descriptions

  • Appendix D

    Technical Approach

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was sponsored by the California Mental Health Services Authority and was conducted within RAND Health, a unit of the RAND Corporation.

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