Policy Positions

of the MHAAC Board of Directors

The Mental Health Association of Alameda County (MHAAC) is a nonprofit organization that has been advocating for individuals with mental illness, supporting and educating their family caregivers, and offering free mental health resources to the residents of Alameda County since 1958. The following policy positions have been adopted by the Board of Directors of the MHAAC.

AB 988, The Miles Hall Lifeline Act

Adopted by the Board of Directors 9/13/2021

It is the position of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County that California needs a dedicated 3-digit number as a new crisis line for people experiencing behavioral health emergencies.  We believe that the passage of Assembly Bill 988 will allow for an improvement of crisis response services for people experiencing a mental health emergency by providing 24/7 access to trained crisis counselors, mobile crisis teams staffed by mental health professionals and trained peers, and crisis stabilization facilities as an alternative to emergency rooms or jails.  Establishing 988 is an important first step in addressing the unmet mental health needs in our communities.

Police Involvement in Mental Health Crises

Adopted by the Board of Directors 11/17/2020

It is the position of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County that police involvement in mental health calls should be the intervention of last resort and only in those circumstances when a weapon is involved. To this end, we support emerging models of intervention that either pair a mental health professional with a police officer, or pair a mental health professional with an EMT. We look to the day when these models are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at all locations in our county, across the state of California and the United States. In order to expand programs that do not include police intervention, we encourage exploration of models that utilize non-licensed but highly trained mental health workers as well as peer models of crisis intervention.

Gun Violence as a Mental Health Issue

Adopted by the Board of Directors 3/16/2023

It is the position of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County (MHAAC) that gun violence is an issue with significant mental health implications related to causation, perpetration, victims, bystanders, and general society.

Although there is some public perception that gun violence is perpetrated primarily by individuals with serious mental illness, data suggests that:

  • Only 4% of all violence in the United States is perpetrated by an individual with a mental illness; individuals with mental illness are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of gun violence.
  • The biggest predictor of a mass shooting is a prior history of violence, including domestic violence.
  • More than 50% of all suicides are by firearm.
  • Red flag or extreme risk laws, which allow loved ones of law enforcement to petition a court or an order to temporarily prevent someone in a crisis from accessing guns, are associated with a decrease in suicide by firearms.
  • Exposure to gun violence can result in depression, anxiety, trauma, post-traumatic stress, and an increase in substance use.

MHAAC supports the following measures in an effort to address the mental health implications of gun violence:

  • Public education on safe gun storage
  • Background checks on all gun sales
  • Consistent implementation of red flag/extreme risk laws
  • Laws that prohibit access to firearms following a conviction for domestic violence
  • Increased funding for firearm injury prevention research
  • Restriction of firearms with high-capacity magazines

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