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

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

Published Oct 9, 2012

by Katherine E. Watkins, M. Audrey Burnam, Edward N. 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.

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.

This report is part of the RAND technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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