Since the 1960s California has had a statewide advisory board operating independently from the State Department of Mental Health to provide public input into mental health policy development and planning. The current entity, the California Mental Health Planning Council, was established in state statute in 1993 in response to the realignment of mental health program responsibility and funding. The Planning Council was designed to be an appropriate structure for public input, planning, and evaluation under realigned mental health programs.
Following the March 2000 Summit, the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness Education at California State University East Bay, appointed a committee on mental health education and workforce. The committee was interested in mental health internships for undergraduate students, supportive services for students with disabilities and articulation between high school and four year colleges. Shortly thereafter, Alameda County Behavioral Healthcare Services provided staff release time to help staff the committee and the potential development of projects. In order to broaden the geographic scope of the work and secure mental health support for the work, the committee approached the Mental Health Directors of the 13 Greater Bay Area Counties. The Committee then became a subcommittee of the Great Bay Area Mental Health Directors (which is a subgroup of the CMHDA), and the Greater Bay Area Mental Health & Education Workforce Collaborative was launched.