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serious mental illness

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Stanislaus was one of the first counties in California to submit a plan for funding from the Mental Health Services Act, the voter-supported tax on millionaires to expand the state’s mental health services.

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As mental health budgets shrink and services erode in Stanislaus County California, Aspen Family Medical Group, a primary care clinic, has taken on a key role in treating the county's uninsured mentally ill.

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Richard Curtis' schizophrenic son was rejected repeatedly from Social Security, which would allow him to qualify for Medi-Cal and more extensive county services.

Picture of Jocelyn Wiener

Seven years after voters passed Proposition 63 -- the landmark legislation that was supposed to radically improve mental health care in the state -- California is facing a deepening statewide mental health crisis. As the state struggles under the weight of a lingering recession and an enormous deficit, county mental health programs are often failing to provide care for even the sickest patients. In many cases, the minimal safety net that used to exist is disintegrating.

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Few families in the United States are untouched by mental illness. Estimates are that about one in four American adults suffers from some type of mental illness, and about 1 in 17 suffers from a serious mental illness. In a 1999 report, the U.S. Surgeon General emphasized the relationship between the mind and body and the importance of mental health to overall health and wellbeing. Since the 1970s, there have been great medical advances in treating mental illness, particularly with the use of mood-stabilizing and anti-psychotic medications.

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